What now for Hill and Hopkins?

What now for Tommy Hill and John Hopkins?
By Lisa Crouch

Fresh from their dramatic battle and photo finish at Brands Hatch, it is possible that both new British Superbike champion Tommy Hill and runner-up John Hopkins could find a place on the MotoGP grid for 2012.

Hopkins has long made it clear that his goal is to ride in MotoGP again, with his move to the Crescent Suzuki BSB team always intended as a stepping stone back to the factory Suzuki grand prix team, both being run by Paul Denning.

Hopkins raced for the team between 2003 and 2007, the final year of which he finished an impressive fourth in the championship standings.

But Suzuki's continued stalling may force Hopkins to look elsewhere. LCR Honda have also shown an interest, but Hopkins faces stiff competition from their ex-rider Randy de Puniet and present Suzuki MotoGP star Alvaro Bautista, also trying not to get left out of a ride by the factory's indecision over next season.

Meanwhile, it has been revealed that Paul Bird, who has lost his factory Kawasaki contract in World Superbikes for next season, has submitted his plans to run a one rider team in MotoGP next season.

Although the new privateer CRT teams have been less than impressive in testing so far, the prestige of stepping up to the premier-class would be a huge draw for any rider and team, and the swelling of bike numbers in MotoGP is long overdue.

Tom Sykes, who has raced for Bird's Kawasaki WSBK squad for the past two seasons, has unsurprisingly been linked to the ride, as has fellow WSBK participant Leon Camier.

However, following his intense battle for the BSB title, Tommy Hill has also launched himself into the fray as a possible contender for Bird's new team, if all goes ahead as planned.

Should both Hill and Hopkins obtain MotoGP rides next season, fans of the sport will no doubt be hoping they retain the hunger and determination displayed in this year's BSB championship, and bring some much needed excitement and overtaking with them.

Tagged as: Tommy Hill , John Hopkins

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Tommy Hill, John Hopkins [pic credit: Ian Hopgood]
Tommy Bridewell, Team WD-40 Kawasaki [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
John Hopkins, Jason O`Halloran, BSB [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
John Hopkins, British Moto Rapido [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
John Hopkins, British Moto Rapido [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Tommy Bridwell, Team WD-40 Kawasaki, [Credit: BSB media]
Tommy Bridwell, Team WD-40 Kawasaki, [Credit: BSB]
Tommy Bridwell, Team WD-40 Kawasaki, [Credit: BSB]
Tommy Bridwell, Team WD-40 Kawasaki, [Credit: BSB]
Tommy Bridewell, Bennetts Suzuki, [Credit:]
Tommy Bridewell, Bennetts Suzuki, [Credit:]
Tommy Bridewell, Bennetts Suzuki, [Credit:]
Byrne, Ellison, Hopkins, BSB [Credit:]
Tommy Bridewell, Bennetts Suzuki, [Credit:]
Tommy Bridewell, Bennetts Suzuki, [Credit:]
John Hopkins, ePayMe Yamaha, [Credit:]
Tommy Bridewell, Bennetts Suzuki, [Credit:]
Tommy Bridewell, Bennetts Suzuki, [Credit:]

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Yamaha r1 - Unregistered

October 15, 2011 6:08 AM

DONT DO IT Tommy don't become a also ran on a rubbish bike in a championship that you can only win if you are on a repsol or yamaha get on a bike in a championship that will give you the chance of winning even if that means staying in bsb going to moto gp you will get forgotten and look at jt it pretty much finished his career and cal isn't having a great time of it I don't see why riders are desperate to get into moto gp just to become back markers and have beens when they could cut a good career in wsbk which didn't do foggy any harm.

Bill Nuttall - Unregistered

October 15, 2011 12:22 PM

If you were in their position, and were offered a ride in MotoGP on a CRT team, then boy that would be a tough decision. Your head would be saying 'don't do it - you're just going to be a back marker', but your heart would say 'This might be the only chance I get to ride in the most prestigious series in the world'. I don't envy anyone in this position, it's an incredibly tough call. But say you were offered the ride and you turned it down, in ten years time lying awake at night I'm pretty sure you'd have trouble getting the 'what-if?' out of your head. Bottom line - it could destroy your career, but it could also lead on to much bigger and better things.

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