John Hopkins could be about to give the ailing AMA Superbike series a substantial boost this season after it was confirmed he is in talks to join Suzuki.
The American rider will test a Suzuki GSX-R1000 run by the M4 Hammer outfit at the California Speedway with a view to rejoining the team he started out with for the 2010 AMA Superbike season.
Hopkins, who spent seven years competing in the MotoGP World Championship before switching to the World Superbike Championship in 2009, has been relatively absent from the rumour mill in recent weeks.
Indeed, with Hopkins' 2009 season ravaged by injury and former team Stiggy Racing going under, his hopes of a racing return appeared to lie with the burgeoning FB Corse MotoGP team as it continues its preparations for a 2010 debut behind closed doors.
However, Hopkins will instead continue to pursue the Superbike route with a return to his native United States, where organisers hope he will fill the void left by Ben Spies and the now retired Mat Mladin.
"We're excited about having the opportunity to test with a rider the calibre of 'Hopper' and about the possibility that he might race with us in 2010," crew chief Keith Perry said. "It's been several years since the team worked with John and we had a lot of success together the last time.
“John went on to have success in MotoGP and it's been nice to see him do well on the World Championship scene. The team is hoping this test at Fontana will lay the groundwork for a successful partnership with Hopkins in anticipation of working together this upcoming season."
Hopkins made his name on the American racing scene, winning the AMA Formula Xtreme Championship in 2001 before stepping up to MotoGP.