John Hopkins has withdrawn from this weekend's Malaysian MotoGP at Sepang due to further complications with the broken finger he damaged in Brno earlier this season.
Hopkins, who was making his third 2011 appearance for the Rizla Suzuki team, has re-broken the third finger on his right-hand. The finger is swollen and seized overnight, making it impossible to ride a MotoGP machine competitively or safely.
Hopkins will stay for the remainder of the weekend before returning to America for further surgery.
“I knew my hand was sore after yesterday afternoon, because it was hurting when I was riding," said Hopkins, runner-up in this yea's BSB Championship. "It is definitely a lot more painful riding a MotoGP bike than it was the British Superbike, mainly due to the immense braking forces on the GSV-R.
"I woke up just before six this morning and I had quite a bit of pain so I tried to loosen it up and bend it, but that wasn't an option. The screws and the plates in the finger have come apart and there's just no movement in the knuckle at all, so I cannot bend the finger. If I get any further damage to the injury it could result in amputation and certainly don't want that!
"My Doctor is totally confident that he can fix it, but I just haven't been able to rest it and give it the proper time needed to repair it over the last six weeks. I thought it would be fine to ride this weekend and had every hope of it working, but I didn't expect the amount of force that goes into riding a GP bike would cause such a problem."
The withdraw means that Hopkins has had to abandon a MotoGP chance for the second time in succession.
“I am so sorry for the team and Rizla Suzuki, because they have given me such a great opportunity again and now I can't ride past the Friday - it's heartbreaking and I can't express my disappointment," admitted Hopkins, who was 14th fastest on Friday. "It's such a shame and I couldn't be more upset, but the priority now is to get it fixed and get myself ready for the 2012 season.”
Hopkins, a full time MotoGP rider from 2002-2008, finished tenth as a stand-in for the injured Bautista at round two in Jerez. The American hopes to rejoin MotoGP full time in 2012.
“Words can't really express the disappointment that whole team feels at John's bad luck," said team manager Paul Denning. "It would have been special to have two Rizla Suzukis in the race tomorrow, but we can't change the situation. John requires urgent surgery and lots of rest to get his finger properly repaired and fully operational again. He's had some bad luck, but he should be proud of everything he has achieved in 2011.”