Rizla Suzuki will have a two-pronged attack for the first time this season as John Hopkins joins Alvaro Bautista for the Czech Republic Grand Prix. Hopkins returns to MotoGP after substituting for the injured Bautista at Jerez with the team rolling out a second GSV-R.
The American will be competing in his third different championship in consecutive weekends after representing Samsung Crescent Racing in British and World Superbikes, an achievement he is proud of.
“This is my third race in as many weeks and I am really looking forward to it! It's been very busy and doing these three different championships back-to-back is quite a challenge, but I am really excited to be back in amongst the big boys at MotoGP. When I rode at Jerez earlier in the year I'd had no real 2011 racing experience so it was a bit ‘in at the deep end’. It was also the first time I'd raced with my wrist working properly since the operation, up until then it was still healing and the few times I'd been on a bike in 2011 had been for pre-season tests and the filming shoot at Qatar. Now I feel that I have gained more confidence and I'm riding better than ever.”
“I'm really pumped that the race is at Brno because it is one of my favourite tracks and I hope I can go well. I'm under no illusions that it will be tough, because the other guys have been racing on MotoGP bikes all season and I'll need some time to get up to speed with the bike and tyres, but I'll be giving it all I've got to try to get a good result for the team.”
Bautista's recent performances have reflected the improvements made by the Suzuki team and with a teammate to help him this weekend, the Spaniard is excited at his prospects for Brno.
“I've been relaxing since the last race with a few days at the beach and now I'm training hard and looking forward to Brno. The last two races have been very positive and I think as a whole we are in the best position we have been since I've been in MotoGP. We need to continue with the progress we've made recently and the results will start to come. I had an injured back at Brno last year and couldn't ride at my best, but I'm 100% now and will be pushing from day one. I hope John has a good weekend and enjoys himself; it will be good to have him there as it will give us the chance to push each other along. I'm sure we can work well together to get a good setting for the GSV-R and it will be nice to have a team mate again! I'm excited about the Brno race – I will be giving my maximum!”