By Lisa Crouch

American racer John Hopkins will be competing in WSBK 2012 running the number 21, after three time champion Troy Bayliss revealed he had relinquished it, having run the number himself during his illustrious Superbike career.

Troy Bayliss used social networking to publicly reveal that he was giving permission for Hopkins to run with the number 21 next season.

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The Australian wrote on Twitter:

"I am happy @JHopper21 will run 21 in WSBK , I only kept it aside in case of come back , now I can really forget it " - having previously revealed "just gave up my number , if some one thinks they can live it they can have it" when it was announced that 'Hopper' would be racing with Crescent Suzuki in next year's championship.

Hopkins also used Twitter to send his thanks back to Bayliss, the former MotoGP star replied "Just received the news that I'll be able to run my number 21 for the 2012 @sbk_official season thanks to @TroyBallistic signing off on it !"

Last year's BSB runner-up also has a long association with the number, having used it in MotoGP, AMA and BSB.

The number had previously been withdrawn from use when Troy Bayliss ended his Superbike career after his title win in 2008.

Previous requests to reinstate the number for Hopkins were turned down, in 2009 the number 121 was used on his Stiggy Honda and in his wild-card ride this year for Samsung Crescent Suzuki at the Silverstone World Superbike round he used 211.

The situation had been reversed in MotoGP - Bayliss switching to the #12 for his debut 2003 season, since Hopkins was already using #21.