John Hopkins has confirmed he will step up to the World Superbike Championship in 2012 with Crescent Suzuki after his hopes of landing a MotoGP
deal were scuppered.
The American joined the Jack Valentine-helmed squad at the start of 2011 for a run at the MCE British Superbike Championship title, Hopkins proceeding to revive his flagging career by battling season-long with Tommy Hill and Shane Byrne.
Though he would ultimately fall two points short of the title win, Hopkins – who also scored a fine pole position as a World Superbike wild-card at Silverstone
– had done enough to warrant the attention of the MotoGP
teams once again, with links to Rizla Suzuki and LCR Honda heading into the off-season.
However, with Rizla Suzuki announcing its withdrawal from the series and LCR Honda opting to sign Moto2 champion Stefan Bradl, Hopkins will instead remain with Crescent for its foray into the World Superbike Championship.
"I am really happy to be joining up with the Crescent guys again. We had a great year in British Superbike and I'm sure we can continue that in WSB. I wanted to get back into world championship racing and this is a natural progression from last year. The difference this time is that I will be going to tracks that I already know and have some reference from, so that should make some things a bit easier.
"I know it's going to be a big step, but with some big technical advances and Yoshimura on board, I'm sure the bike will be fully competitive. It will be great to work with Lez Pearson again, as we built up a strong relationship and his understanding of the way the bike works will be invaluable next year.
"I'm also looking forward to riding with Leon. I'm sure he'll be strong next year and will be a difficult team-mate to beat and also one who will push me to the limit.
"I want to say thanks to Paul, Martyn, Jack and everyone at Crescent Suzuki for believing in me and giving me this opportunity. I can't wait to get on the bike and see what we can do. I know it's not going to be an easy task by any means, but I have every intention of going out and trying to earn my first ever world championship for myself and the team. I'll be doing everything in my power to make it happen."
Team manager Valentine was also thrilled to have Hopkins back on board with the Crescent squad for another season following its successful BSB