Hopkins to fill in for injured Smrz at Brands Hatch

BSB star John Hopkins will make a one-round return at Brands Hatch to replace the injured Jakub Smrz for the Lloyds British Moto Rapido Ducati team
MCE British Superbike star John Hopkins will make a one-round return to the series at Brands Hatch after the American was confirmed to be the stand-in for the injured Jakub Smrz at Lloyds British Moto Rapido Ducati.

Hopkins is a well-know face to BSB fans after famously missing out on the 2011 BSB crown to Tommy Hill by just 0.006s in the final race of the season at Brands Hatch. Last year the American suffered a difficult campaign racing for the Tyco Suzuki team and failed to secure a ride for this year so is free to act as cover for the injured Smrz, who broke his hand in a qualifying crash with Victor Cox at Snetterton last month.

"I am really excited about this opportunity to be honest, especially because it feels like it's been a long time coming,” the former MotoGP, World and British Superbike rider said. “After my race plans fell through before the start of the season I was left with nothing and so from then on I have been pretty much playing a waiting game. I have been to some of the races and I have followed the others at home, but I have been doing everything I possibly can to be ready for an opportunity like this to come.”

Hopkins will make his debut racing on a Ducati Panigale R in BSB in two weeks at the Kent circuit and is set to use the #15 plate rather than his normal 21.

"The team and Kuba have proven that the bike is competitive this season and despite having never ridden a Ducati before, I think it should suit my riding style,” Hopkins explained. “For sure it's been frustrating waiting but I looked at my career and decided straight away it couldn't end as it did in 2014 and because of that I am more motivated than ever to prove I have more.

“This is the moment I want to resurrect myself and show what I can still do. This is a great opportunity for me to prove this.”

Despite his inexperience on the Italian machine Hopkins is already aiming for strong top ten finishes around the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit.

"I am really motivated to go out and do the best job I possibly can and I think that should mean aiming for a result well inside the top ten,” he added. “I feel excited that I can finally get back on track, especially as the support I have had from the British fans continues to be amazing.”

Team owner Steve Moore felt his team had been cheated out of a result at Snetterton and is confident the Ducati machine has enjoyed significant improvements since its last competitive outing at Oulton Park at the start of May.

“Snetterton was going very well for us after some significant updates to the bike during the break, so for Jakub to be struck with more bad luck left the whole team feeling cheated of a top result that we all deserved,” Moore said. “It was vital for us to keep the momentum in the team for everyone involved so with Jakub injured for at least two rounds, we had to enlist a rider that could do the job for us.

“John was our first choice and after a meeting with Ducati and our sponsor Lloyds British I was thrilled to secure him for this round.”

Tagged as: Ducati , SMRZ , Hopkins

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