Alvaro Bautista is looking forward to have someone on the other side of the Rizla Suzuki garage as the team gets ready for a two-pronged attack on the Czech Republic Grand Prix at Brno.
Bautista, who has been the sole Suzuki representative this season, will be paired with John Hopkins
at Brno, the American securing a wild-card outing around the circuit he scored his best-ever MotoGP finish for the team in 2007.
An opportunity to measure himself against an experienced competitor, Bautista is hopeful Hopkins's knowledge will help him in his quest to continue up the MotoGP order.
“I've been relaxing since the last race with a few days at the beach and now I'm training hard and looking forward to Brno. The last two races have been very positive and I think as a whole we are in the best position we have been since I've been in MotoGP. We need to continue with the progress we've made recently and the results will start to come.
“I had an injured back at Brno last year and couldn't ride at my best, but I'm 100 per cent now and will be pushing from day one. I hope John has a good weekend and enjoys himself; it will be good to have him there as it will give us the chance to push each other along. I'm sure we can work well together to get a good setting for the GSV-R and it will be nice to have a team mate again! I'm excited about the Brno race – I will be giving my maximum!”
Hopkins, who has taken in World Superbike and British Superbike events over the last two weekends, is also excited to be back on the GSV-R and is expecting to be more competitive than he was at Jerez when he stepped in as a late substitute for the injured Bautista.
“This is my third race in as many weeks and I am really looking forward to it! It's been very busy and doing these three different championships back-to-back is quite a challenge, but I am really excited to be back in amongst the big boys at MotoGP. When I rode at Jerez earlier in the year I'd had no real 2011 racing experience so it was a bit 'in at the deep end'.
“It was also the first time I'd raced with my wrist working properly since the operation, up until then it was still healing and the few times I'd been on a bike in 2011 had been for pre-season tests and the filming shoot at Qatar.
“Now I feel that I have gained more confidence and I'm riding better than ever. I'm really pumped that the race is at Brno because it is one of my favourite tracks and I hope I can go well. I'm under no illusions that it will be tough, because the other guys have been racing on MotoGP bikes all season and I'll need some time to get up to speed with the bike and tyres, but I'll be giving it all I've got to try to get a good result for the team.”