John Hopkins will not take part in this weekend's Czech Republic Grand Prix after injuring two fingers in a practice crash this morning. Free Practice 3 took place in wet conditions and the slippery track caught out the American who slid off into the gravel, with the impact causing a break and dislocation of his third finger and fracture of his second finger.
“I guess disappointed is the only word that can sum up how I feel!” added Hopkins. “I must apologise to the whole team for making such a stupid mistake out there this morning. It was the smallest crash under braking in the wet conditions and as I slid along I kept my hand on the ground to try and slow me down, but as soon as I hit the gravel it went in and mangled my hand right up. I've fractured three fingers on my right hand. The index and middle finger are just normal fractures that probably wouldn't have kept me off the bike, but the third finger has separated and split down the middle from the knuckle. It's not a case of pain, strength or anything like that, it's simply that I can't bend the finger or both bones could come through the skin, so it would have been impossible to hold on to the bike.”
Despite the disappointment, Hopkins is determined to return to MotoGP in the future and hopes to be back in the championship sooner rather than later.
“This is just another small setback in my journey to get back to full time MotoGP. I'll stay here the rest of the weekend and give my full support to the team and do whatever I can to express my gratitude to them for giving me this opportunity. This is not the last time you'll see me at a Grand Prix, I'm still destined to be back here, whether it's this year or next I don't know, but I will be back here!”
Hopkins will now head to the United States to undergo an operation in an attempt to repair the injury as he gets ready to continue his BSB championship challenge at Cadwell Park in two weeks time.
“This morning's injury is a huge disappointment to all of us at Rizla Suzuki and of course mostly to John,” added Team Manager Paul Denning. “He is completely devastated that he is not able to compete in the Grand Prix tomorrow, especially as his form yesterday was extremely promising. He was just building up to speed very gradually in the wet conditions and, on the first lap that he tried to push a little bit harder, he made a simple mistake and folded the front. It was on exactly the same corner that Casey had done the same thing at the start of the session, but John was just less lucky and as he entered the gravel trap the angle of his hand meant that the impact folded his fingers. This caused a substantial break to one finger and further damage to another. If the injury had been his left hand he would be on the GSV-R this afternoon, but to control a MotoGP bike and expect to be competitive with that injury to his throttle and braking hand is completely unrealistic.”
“From the team, thanks to John for being so professional and a pleasure to work with this weekend. It was also great to have a two-rider team again and all the clear advantages that it brings. Despite what happened this morning I believe everybody in MotoGP was impressed with the potential shown here in Brno by John. I have no doubt that we will see him on a Grand Prix bike again in the near future.”