John Hopkins will not be ready to make his World Superbike return at his home Miller Motorsports Park event this weekend, prompting the call-up of fellow American Jake Zemke.
Former MotoGP star Hopkins dislocated his left hip and fractured his femur in the opening minutes of his second WSBK weekend at Assen on April 24. Zemke was subsequently hired by Stiggy Honda to replace Hopkins at Monza, where the reigning AMA Formula Extreme champion finished 18th and 20th.
Stiggy chose to run only Leon Haslam at the recent Kyalami round, but - with Hopkins missing his target of being fit for his home round - 33-year-old Zemke will be back on the second bike at Miller.
“I am definitely excited to be back on the Stiggy Honda at Miller Motorsports Park,” said Zemke. “I was real disappointed with our results at Monza; I know that the team and myself are capable of much more than what we showed. Now with a better understanding of the team and also the Pirelli tyres, we will be looking at fighting inside the top ten.”
The American fans will have three home riders to support this weekend; Zemke, Jamie Hacking (replacing Makoto Tamada at PBM Kawasaki) and five-time 2009 WSBK race winner Ben Spies (Yamaha).
Zemke finished third, behind Spies and Yoshimura Suzuki team-mate Mat Mladin, in the 2007 AMA Superbike Championship.
Hopkins also missed his home Laguna Seca round of the 2008 MotoGP World Championship through injury, but was at least able to ride on American soil in the Indianapolis Grand Prix later in that season.
Hopkins will now have three more weeks to recover before the Misano round of the 2009 WSBK championship takes place on June 21.