After three days of discomfort during testing at Phillip Island in Australia, caused by metal plates placed in his left foot and ankle after his Assen accident, John Hopkins has revealed that he will undergo surgery to have the metalwork removed - along with a further plate in his hand.

The discomfort was caused by tendons rubbing on the metalwork, forcing Hopkins to adapt his riding style. The Kawasaki rider nevertheless lowered his best lap time from a 1min 33.3sec on Wednesday to a 1min 32.1sec on Friday.

"Today was more positive for me. The injuries weren't such a big problem, although I had to adapt my riding style because I still can't put any pressure on the left footpeg," Hopkins revealed. "We found a pretty good set-up on the bike and my lap times were pretty consistent over the long runs we did for Bridgestone, and it's this consistency that's important to our development programme right now."

The fastest ZX-RR lap was a 1min 31.8sec by new team-mate Marco Melandri.

"It's been good working with Marco; we work well together and I'm sure we'll be pushing each other all the way once we start testing and racing again next year," said John.

Hopkins will fly straight back to the United States, where he'll undergo surgery on Wednesday to remove the metal plates, then spend four weeks recuperating before starting an intensive fitness regime.

"Now I'm off straight back to America, where I'll have surgery on Wednesday to remove all the metal from my various injuries," confirmed the #21. "As well as taking the plates out of my left foot and ankle, Doctor Ting will also remove the plate I've had in my left hand for the past three years. I'll be about two kilograms lighter! My plan is to take it easy after the surgery, to make sure I'm fully recovered, and then train my butt off ready for the new season."

Test rider Olivier Jacque matched the best lap time by Hopkins, while the fastest lap at the test - attended by only Suzuki and Kawasaki - was a 1min 30.9sec by Loris Capirossi.



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