Leon Haslam has expressed his excitement at the arrival of new Stiggy Racing team-mate John Hopkins saying his arrival will be positive for himself, the team and the series.
Haslam has made a fine start to his season with the Swedish outfit, managing a podium first time out in Australia, while the Honda rider currently sits fifth in the overall standings after four races.
However, having seen off former 250GP frontrunner Roberto Rolfo, Haslam will now be disputing the role of team leader with MotoGP rider Hopkins after the American was confirmed with the team yesterday.
Nonetheless, Haslam is not considering Hopkins' arrival as a threat, but is instead treating it as a chance to measure himself against one of the world's foremost riders.
“John Hopkins is a great rider,” he told Crash.net
. “I know him pretty well, he lived close to me and I've trained with him too. He was awesome on the Suzuki and although he didn't have the best of years on the Kawasaki, there is no doubt that he is a class act rider. To have him on the other side of the garage is really exciting.”
“To beat him can only be a good thing for me because he is a world class rider. When John comes on board I think he will want to be fighting for the championship and his arrival will probably give the team a little extra motivation to step up as well.”
With Hopkins keen to capitalise on the new wave of American interest in the series following Ben Spies' remarkable start to his rookie campaign, Haslam believes his arrival is another major boost for the championship.
“It will be good to have him in the series. It is going from strength to strength and bringing people like that in will only make things better – he is another character.”