Suzuki's John Hopkins
looks set to start pre-season testing '100% fit' after a speedy recovery from surgery to remove a rod from his femur and pins from each of his ankles.
The Anglo-American underwent the operation - required to correct injuries incurred in a car accident when he was 14 years old, and two broken ankles sustained on a Supercross bike before the start of the 2004 season - in mid-November.
Surgery lasted several hours and required Hopkins' left hip to be dislocated in order for the rod to be removed, but the 21-year-old has healed quickly and is eager to get his first taste of the 2005 spec Suzuki GSV-R when the testing ban is lifted later this month.
"John has recovered very well from his surgeries. In fact, he was walking without crutches after the very first week," John's mum, Linda, told Crash.net
. "The femur took a little longer to heal, understandably so when you think of how long the surgery was and how the doctors had to pound away at the rod to remove it.
"However, as of January 1st he has been proclaimed 100% fit and ready to go. Boy, is he raring to go! He can't wait for testing to resume and is anticipating good things with Suzuki," Linda added.
As well as full fitness, Hopkins - who turned heads with a series of strong results in the second half of last season - looks set to benefit from a new management company representing his interests this season.
"The new company is called 'The Familie'. Over here (America) they represent mainly motocross racers Chad Reed and Travis Pastrana, plus skaters and snowboarders," explained Linda. "I believe the parent company in England represents Arsenal FC and various famous actors and actresses.
"Anyway, it's a huge business with lots of branches and I think John may be the first MotoGP racer they have, but they are really treating him well and have already made a big difference to his career."
As part of the new deal, Hopkins will be directly represented by 500cc legend Randy Mamola and former Motocross World Champion Jamie Dobb. A line of clothing is also expected later this year.