John Hopkins has decided to take a one-year sabbatical from motorcycle racing after a year blighted by injuries. The American has been battling to reach full fitness ever since dislocating a finger at the Czech MotoGP last August before later having it amputated and broke the same right hand in testing weeks before the 2012 SBK season began.
The next serious injury came at Monza when Hopkins suffered a highside in wet conditions damaging his hip and although he returned later in the season, ‘Hopper’ will now head back home to the United States for further tests and evaluations.
“I have really struggled with my hip since the crash at Monza and I know that it is a priority to get my health sorted before I can even think about racing again. I didn’t want to pledge myself to the FIXI Crescent Suzuki team for 2013 and then not be able to give 100% because the injury is a constant worry, so although this is a difficult decision it is the correct one. I will be going back to America for a bunch of tests and then we’ll decide what the best course of action is. If that is a hip replacement or something similar, then that is what I am prepared to do to make sure I can get my health and fitness back. At the moment the injury is influencing everything I do in my home, personal and racing life, so I need to get it sorted out properly. I still have the desire and passion to race against the world’s best riders but every time I have pumped myself up to go for it this season, the hip has quickly and painfully reminded me that I need to be careful – and that’s no way to go racing.”
“Everyone at the team has been very supportive this year, because they know what I’ve been through, so I want to send my thanks to them for all their encouragement and backing. I’d like to also thank all the racing fans and my personal sponsors – in particular Arai, Alpinestars and Monster who have been with me for so long – they have all been so positively behind me, I’m sorry that it’s not worked out this year, but I really do hope to be back!”
Fixi Crescent Suzuki team principal Paul Denning has paid tribute to Hopkins, in particular his commitment despite the recurring injuries, and hopes to see him back on the racetrack as soon as possible.
“We all saw what a formidable competitor John Hopkins is throughout 2011 – in BSB, the Silverstone WSBK wildcard race and on the Suzuki MotoGP machine. He’s not a prolific crasher by any means – nearly every rider on the grid crashed in the Philip Island tests! – but John has just suffered ridiculous bad luck and has managed to create new injuries or severely aggravate old ones every time there has been an incident. It’s an indication of his talent that John has been somewhere close to the best riders on lap times in WSBK even with the restrictions he’s had to cope with.”
“John needs to get himself fully healthy, allow his body to recover in the proper timescales and refresh his mind from the constant pain caused by these injuries. He’s been racing at the top level since he was 16 years old, and it’s time to give himself the chance to recover. If, following that process, John feels motivated and ready to return to racing he knows he only has to call and we’ll be at the track straight away with a bike for him to test. On behalf of the whole Crescent Suzuki family – thank you John and we really hope that 2013 is the beginning of a great future.”