The Anglo-American, riding a ZX-RR in the wet for the first time, looked to have got the measure of the slick morning conditions as his lap times tumbled - but disaster struck when he got on the gas fractionally too hard at the high-speed first turn, and was catapulted over the handlebars.

Although able to return to the pits under his own steam, Hopkins suffered pain in his hip and groin once his leathers were removed. The decision was then made to transport him to a medical facility in Melbourne for precautionary x-rays and an ultrasound scan, which confirmed that he'd torn the abductor muscle on the left side of his groin.

Hopkins will now return to the United States, where he will receive laser treatment under the direction of the world renowned Doctor Ting. Untreated the injury would take four to five weeks to heal fully, but Hopkins is confident that, with the assistance of Doctor Ting, he will be back on the bike for the IRTA test in Jerez from February 16-18.

"My lap times had been coming down by a second a lap, but then I got caught out at turn one while pushing for a faster time. I got on the gas a little too early on the exit, lost the rear and got flicked over the highside when the bike came round on me," confirmed Hopper.

"I must have been horizontal in the air, because I landed flat on my side. It was a hard landing and it felt painful straight away. I went to hospital in Melbourne, where the doctors confirmed that I'd torn around 50 percent of the abductor muscle from the bone. It's not a serious injury, but it is quite painful at the moment. I'm determined to be back on the Kawasaki for the IRTA Jerez test, so I'm going to head home to see Doctor Ting and to get treatment on the injury as soon as possible," he added.

"You don't crash at Phillip Island's turn one and walk away unscathed, even in the wet," stated Kawasaki competition manager Michael Bartholemy. "It was obvious that John was in some pain and, while the initial examination by the circuit doctor indicated he hadn't broken any bones, we decided as a precaution to send him to a private clinic in Melbourne for a further examination.

"Thankfully, the x-ray and ultrasound examinations confirmed the initial assessment, but a torn abductor muscle is still a fairly debilitating injury for a racer. But John's a tough cookie, and I'm sure that with Doctor Ting's help, he'll be back on the bike at the IRTA Jerez test in February."

With Hopkins absent, team-mate Anthony West went on to finish 12th fastest during day two at his home track - and will now have to shoulder responsibility for completing Kawasaki's planned test programme at Phillip Island.

"I'm down to do a race simulation run tomorrow. Hopefully it will be just one long run; I told Hopper when he got back from the hospital that if the team make me do his race simulation as well tomorrow then he'll be getting a bill for it!" he joked.