An 18-year old rider qualified second for the Daytona 600 Supersport Race last weekend. Yes, he threw down a faster lap than Miguel DuHamel, Anthony Gobert, Eric Bostrom, Aaron Yates, and others. Was it one of the three Hayden brothers in the race? No, actually, this 18-year old qualified quicker than all three of the Hayden brothers, as well. He is John Hopkins of the Valvoline Emgo Suzuki Team.
Hopkins also ran in the lead group during the race until misfortune struck him during a red flag. He accidentally rear-ended DuHamel, crashed and broke his collarbone.
Hopkins is expected to mend quickly enough to return for Round 2 of the 600 Supersport Championship, but he has already given notice to the top AMA riders that he will be a new front-runner during the series.
Hopkins has won AMA races before, particularly in 750cc Supersport (he is the reigning champion). He is no stranger to the top step of the podium, but he is a new face on the grid beside AMA legends like DuHamel. Don’t be surprised by anything this kid might do this season. He is not intimidated by the big-name riders, and he is capable of winning races in the highly competitive 600 Supersport class.