John Hopkins is confident his healing hand will be in much better shape for this weekend's Assen World Superbike round.

The Crescent Fixi Suzuki rider missed the opening event of the new season due to injuries from a Phillip Island testing fall, then withdrew from race two of his Imola return due to arm pump.

"After Imola, I went back to America and I've done five days of solid riding on my enduro bike. Whilst it's no substitute for being on my race bike, it has given my hand a good workout and I'm happy to report that all is OK in that area," said Hopkins. "I've also been training hard and I'm feeling better and better, day by day.

"Imola is a very physical circuit and I wasn't 100% race fit, so that was a bit frustrating, but Assen is a less demanding track and I'm sure my progress will continue there. I'm really looking forward to getting on my Crescent Fixi GSX-R again and seeing for myself the improvements made during the test at Imola."

Hopkins scored his first points of the season with 13th in race one at Imola, but will clearly be aiming much higher at Assen, a circuit he knows well from MotoGP.

"It may take a couple more rounds for John to be at full strength, but I'm sure we'll see him more competitive at Assen," said team manager Jack Valentine. "If Leon [Camier] and John have good race set-ups and can qualify well, there's no reason why we cannot get our best results of the season so far."

Camier and Hopkins will have a new spec Yoshimura engine to use at Assen (see separate story).


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