John Hopkins will make another wildcard appearance for the Rizla Suzuki team after they confirmed his participation in the Malaysian Grand Prix. The American will be keen to banish the memories of his last MotoGP appearance at Brno when he dislocated a finger and missed the race when he partners Alvaro Bautista on a second GSV-R.
Since returning from the injury, Hopkins has taken the lead in the British Superbike Championship and is hoping to return to the MotoGP paddock as the new title holder.
“I am really pumped to get this chance to ride in a MotoGP race with the Rizla Suzuki team. I thought after Brno that I wouldn't get the opportunity again and was really disappointed that I missed out there due to a silly mistake, so to be heading to Sepang is fantastic. It is one of my favourite tracks and I know it well because we used to test there a lot. My main focus is on the British Championship at the moment, but as soon as that is over I will be in MotoGP mode and putting all my efforts into getting a good result at Sepang and showing that I can perform at the highest level. I really want to get back into MotoGP and this is a great chance to show what I can do.
“Again I need to thank everyone at Rizla Suzuki for giving me this opportunity and my Samsung Crescent team – I hope that by the time I get back on the MotoGP bike we will have been celebrating something really big at Brands Hatch!”
Team Manager Paul Denning has been particularly impressed by the way Hopkins has recovered from his injury and is excited at what lies ahead for the team in Malaysia.
“We'd intended to give John at least one outing on the Rizla Suzuki Grand Prix bike this year and we're delighted that he'll join us in Malaysia to form a two-man team with Ãlvaro. Sepang is one of John's favourite tracks and also one that the GSV-R has performed well at in the past. What happened in Brno – with John's injury – and the way he has worked so hard to come back from it, and challenge for the British Superbike Championship, has only reaffirmed his commitment to success and getting back to the top level. Let's hope at Sepang we manage to line up at the start of the race with two Rizla Suzukis and that Ãlvaro and John can show what they and the team are all capable of producing.”