We can finally retire the Hoppergate tag (saying this pretty much assures its continued use unfortunately), M4 Suzuki has issued a press release that confirms what Asphalt & Rubber already knew (hat tip to The Sparrow), John Hopkins will be riding in the AMA American Superbike team with Team Hammer. This news comes despite the fact that FB Corse has repeatedly insisted that the American rider was committed to them for the 2010 season, and they now chastise Hopper for backing out of the team at the last minute.
Despite the back and forth that has occurred over Hopper’s future racing plans, American fans will be delighted to see one of the country’s greatest riding talents riding back in the ol’ US of A. Even though the AMA Pro Racing series is a bit of a mess right now, Hopper is looking forward to joining the team that helped him launch his motorcycle racing career. He was quoted as saying:
“I’m really excited to be working with the team and (team owner) John Ulrich again. We had a lot of success when I raced with them at the beginning of my career and I’d like to thank Monster, M4 and all the rest of our sponsors for making it happen. I’m also happy to be back on a Suzuki motorcycle again. I’m feeling healthier than I have in a long time. I think my fitness level is up there with the way it was in 2007 and I’m looking forward to getting out there on the track and enjoying racing again. I have the chance to ride the bike a little bit today at a Fastrack Riders track day at Fontana and I’m really pleased. It is just a shakedown test but the bike feels really comfortable to me. My goals are to learn the bike and the tracks, have a healthy season, perform to the best of my ability, and see where that leaves us in the championship. I’m really happy to have a ride with a great team and be healthy again and I’m looking forward to having a good season.”
Team Hammer is equally excited to have Hopper back on the squad, as he will surely bring a level of talent back to the racing series that is devoid of such names as Mladin, Spies, and DiSalvo. “I have full confidence in John Hopkins and his abilities,” said Team Hammer owner John Ulrich. “I really enjoyed working with John before, and I’m really looking forward to working with him again. There is no doubt in my mind that he knows how to ride a motorcycle, and now at age 26 he’s got seven years of Grand Prix experience under his belt.
Ulrich, owner of RoadRacing World went on to say that he is “proud to welcome John Hopkins and his family back to the AMA Pro paddock and I am very excited to be fielding John in the AMA Pro Racing National Guard American Superbike Championship. With the combination of Martin Cardenas and John Hopkins on M4 Suzukis, we have an exciting opportunity to make great things happen in 2010.”
Source: M4 Suzuki aka Team Hammer