Rizla Suzuki MotoGP welcomed back former rider John Hopkins today as he helped the team with some PR work in Qatar.
Hopkins raced to fourth in the MotoGP World Championship in 2007 for Rizla Suzuki and looked right back at home on the latest version of the Suzuki GSV-R – despite only lapping at exhibition speeds – as he joined forces with current star Álvaro Bautista for a full day of filming around the 5,380m Losail circuit.
The Anglo-American star is re-building his career after a wrist injury almost caused his retirement from racing last year. However, pioneering surgery from American specialist Dr. James Chao in San Diego repaired the damage and enabled Hopkins to compete again. Hopkins will be racing in the British Superbike championship this year for the Samsung Crescent Racing team on a Crescent-prepared GSX-R1000, with a clear target to fight for the BSB title.
Rizla Suzuki gets down to some serious work tomorrow when Bautista will be out on the Qatar circuit for the first day of a two-day test, as the team prepares for the first race of the MotoGP season – also at Qatar – on Sunday 20th March. Hopkins will make his BSB debut at Brands Hatch in England on Monday 25th April.
“It’s really good to have been given this opportunity and it’s just been great to be here! It feels really cool to be back out and riding on a GP bike, even if it was just for filming it was still a lot of fun. I did start to get a decent feeling on the bike and it still feels awesome, even with the minimal amount of laps we were doing. It would be great to race the Suzuki in a MotoGP event, so hopefully I can have some success in BSB and get the chance to go for it in a Grand Prix again sometime in the future. My ultimate goal is to get back to MotoGP, but for now my full focus is on doing the best I can in the British Superbike championship with the Samsung Crescent team. I’ve really enjoyed today and I am very grateful to Rizla Suzuki for giving me the chance to be here – and thanks to Álvaro for letting me use one of his Rizla bikes.”