Hopkins will be a front runner, says Whitham

James Whitham thinks John Hopkins will be a front runner when he makes his World Superbike debut during the latest round of the championship at Valencia, Spain.

The American is getting ready for his high-profile arrival in the premier Superbike series this weekend, where his progress on the Stiggy Racing Honda will be closely watched by teams, rivals and fans alike.

Indeed, Hopkins comes to the championship having never competed at Superbike level before, but having seen Max Biaggi and Carlos Checa make a successful switch in recent years, it is hoped he can follow in their footsteps.

For Eurosport commentator Whitham, the former Kawasaki MotoGP rider should be fighting it out at the front when he makes his debut.

“He hasn't ridden a Superbike ever in his life, but anybody who has arrived from MotoGP will be straight on top of the electronics, which is a big part of it these days,” he told

“However, most of the circuits he won't have done as only a few coincide with MotoGP, so he is on a huge learning curve. He is on a good bike though and there is no doubting 'Hoppers' talent.”

Set to capitalise on the series' popularity following the success of countryman Ben Spies, Whitham admits, however, that Hopkins can be prone to the odd mistake.

“He can be fallible though and he does blow hot and cold. You don't know what he's going to do next. Also, he has been accused of not having the aggression and the commitment, so I don't know whether he is as rounded and as complete at Ben Spies.

“Nonetheless he certainly has the speed and the talent to run up the front when things go his way.”

Related Pictures

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John Hopkins makes World Superbike test debut with Stiggy Honda (pic: Stiggy Racing).
Hayden, AMA Superbike, SBK, 2002.
Hayden, AMA Superbike, SBK, 2002.
Hayden, AMA Superbike, SBK, 2002.
Hayden, AMA Superbike, SBK, 2002.
Hayden, AMA Superbike, SBK, 2002.
Hayden, AMA Superbike, SBK, 2002.
Hayden, AMA Superbike, SBK, 2002.
Hayden, AMA Superbike, SBK, 2002.
Hayden, AMA Superbike, SBK, 2002.
Hayden, AMA Superbike, SBK, 2002.
Chaz Davies, Ducati [Credit: Ducati Media]
Savadori, Imola WSBK 2017
Savadori, Imola WSBK 2017
Hayden, Imola WSBK 2017
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Jonathan Rea, Imola WSBK 2017
Alex Lowes, Imola WSBK 2017

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April 01, 2009 10:28 PM
Last Edited 460 days ago

I'm in broadish agreement with open pipes & Marc on this ..... but for a slightly different reason. I reckon Hopper can adapt to the team if they're good - & they seem to be. Harder is to get straight up to speed on such a different type of bike. He'll be better than 90%, maybe better even than 95%, there. But To get on the podium he has to be getting at least 99% out of it. And it takes time - simply hours in the seat - to get that down to an instinctive level of flawless performance. Unlike some I'm very sure he *is* up to doing it. He has the background & experience & he has the mindset. I don't expect it to be immediate. A few race weekends, a familiar circuit, then watch.

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