John Hopkins has confirmed he will step up to the World Superbike Championship in 2012 with Crescent Suzuki after his hopes of landing a MotoGP deal were scuppered.

The American joined the Jack Valentine-helmed squad at the start of 2011 for a run at the MCE British Superbike Championship title, Hopkins proceeding to revive his flagging career by battling season-long with Tommy Hill and Shane Byrne.

Though he would ultimately fall two points short of the title win, Hopkins - who also scored a fine pole position as a World Superbike wild-card at Silverstone - had done enough to warrant the attention of the MotoGP teams once again, with links to Rizla Suzuki and LCR Honda heading into the off-season.

However, with Rizla Suzuki announcing its withdrawal from the series and LCR Honda opting to sign Moto2 champion Stefan Bradl, Hopkins will instead remain with Crescent for its foray into the World Superbike Championship.

"I am really happy to be joining up with the Crescent guys again. We had a great year in British Superbike and I'm sure we can continue that in WSB. I wanted to get back into world championship racing and this is a natural progression from last year. The difference this time is that I will be going to tracks that I already know and have some reference from, so that should make some things a bit easier.

"I know it's going to be a big step, but with some big technical advances and Yoshimura on board, I'm sure the bike will be fully competitive. It will be great to work with Lez Pearson again, as we built up a strong relationship and his understanding of the way the bike works will be invaluable next year.

"I'm also looking forward to riding with Leon. I'm sure he'll be strong next year and will be a difficult team-mate to beat and also one who will push me to the limit.

"I want to say thanks to Paul, Martyn, Jack and everyone at Crescent Suzuki for believing in me and giving me this opportunity. I can't wait to get on the bike and see what we can do. I know it's not going to be an easy task by any means, but I have every intention of going out and trying to earn my first ever world championship for myself and the team. I'll be doing everything in my power to make it happen."

Team manager Valentine was also thrilled to have Hopkins back on board with the Crescent squad for another season following its successful BSB campaign.

"It's great to have John back onboard for next year and a real boost for the whole team that he has chosen to ride for us. He is a class act, not only for Crescent Suzuki, but for the whole Superbike series as well. The crowds will love him.

"I enjoyed working with him this year and, although he rode in the last three events with a severely injured finger, he only just missed out on the championship. That is history now and I look forward to continuing the relationship and building on what we achieved this year. I'm sure with what he learnt in BSB, and his experience on the tracks we will visit next year, that he will be able to get some spectacular results.

"I know he's really fired up for this and I'm looking forward to some exciting times. I cannot wait to see him and Leon out there next year."

Hopkins will be paired with former BSB champion Leon Camier in the team, which will assume privateer Suzuki status in 2012 following the confirmation that the manufacturer will not be involved in a factory capacity with either Crescent or long-term partners Alstare.



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