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John Hopkins gets Sepang MotoGP wild-card

29 September 2011

John Hopkins will re-join the Rizla Suzuki MotoGP team as a wild-card at Sepang for the Malaysian Grand Prix on October 23.

The former full-time MotoGP star was forced to withdraw from his second MotoGP appearance of the season, at Brno, after he crashed and injured his right hand in practice.

However, Hopkins has already completed one MotoGP race this year, when he deputised for Álvaro Bautista at Jerez and scored a creditable 10th place. Hopper is currently leading the British Superbike championship with the Samsung Crescent Suzuki team.

“I am really pumped to get this chance to ride in a MotoGP race with the Rizla Suzuki team." said Hopkins. "I thought after Brno that I wouldn't get the opportunity again and was really disappointed that I missed out there due to a silly mistake, so to be heading to Sepang is fantastic.

"It is one of my favourite tracks and I know it well because we used to test there a lot. My main focus is on the British Championship at the moment, but as soon as that is over I will be in MotoGP mode and putting all my efforts into getting a good result at Sepang and showing that I can perform at the highest level. I really want to get back into MotoGP and this is a great chance to show what I can do.

“Again I need to thank everyone at Rizla Suzuki for giving me this opportunity and my Samsung Crescent team – I hope that by the time I get back on the MotoGP bike we will have been celebrating something really big at Brands Hatch!”

Team manager Paul Denning hopes the second wild-card chance will make up for the early exit at Brno.

“We'd intended to give John at least one outing on the Rizla Suzuki Grand Prix bike this year and we're delighted that he'll join us in Malaysia to form a two–man team with Álvaro," said Denning.

"Sepang is one of John's favourite tracks and also one that the GSV-R has performed well at in the past. What happened in Brno – with John's injury – and the way he has worked so hard to come back from it, and challenge for the British Superbike Championship, has only reaffirmed his commitment to success and getting back to the top level.

"Let's hope at Sepang we manage to line up at the start of the race with two Rizla Suzukis and that Álvaro and John can show what they and the team are all capable of producing.”

The final event of the 2011 BSB season will be held at Brands Hatch on October 8-9, when Hopkins will attempt to secure the championship during his debut season.


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