Something is up in the John Hopkins camp. First the American GP/WSBK racer was linked with MotoGP upstart FB Corse. A few days after the team announced a deal with Hopper, his manager said nothing was signed, and rumors about his involvement in the AMA began to ramp up.
While FB Corse continues to insist that Hopper will be riding with the Italian team next season, the American seems to be making every indication that he will be returning home with RoadRacing World is reporting that Hopkins will testing a Suzuki GSX-R 1000 with Team Hammer (aka Team M4 Suzuki) at Fontana on Februrary 2nd & 3rd.
Hopkins non-commitment with FB Corse is likely due to the team’s uncertainty of running a full season of GP racing. FB Corse is likely to be a wildcard entry in the 2010 season, showing up only to a select number of GP events.
FB Corse remains hopeful that they will be able to put together a full season in MotoGp, but with the silence surrounding their sponsorship deals, the growing likely conclusion is that no such deals exist.
While Hopper would like nothing more than to get back to GP racing, his prospects of racing competitively with FB Corse are slim to none, and if the team shows up only to a few events, it makes his re-entry back into MotoGP even more lackluster…an issue that is surely plaguing the 26 year old’s mind right now.
This leaves only the AMA as Hopkins refuge, and the rumors continue to grow about where he could land in the AMA Pro Racing series. RoadRacing World‘s last discovery of Hopper testing with Team Hammer makes the third AMA team linked to the Anglo-American.
Team Hammer was the first team to give Hopkins his start in professional motorcycle racing, and have expressed their increased interest in retaining Hopper’s services once again.
“We’re excited about having the opportunity to test with a rider the caliber of ‘Hopper’ and about the possibility that he might race with us in 2010,” said Crew Chief Keith Perry.
“It’s been several years since the team worked with John and we had a lot of success together the last time. John went on to have success in MotoGP and it’s been nice to see him do well on the World Championship scene. The team is hoping this test at Fontana will lay the groundwork for a successful partnership with Hopkins in anticipation of working together this upcoming season.”
With FB Corse delaying their public unveiling because of suspiciously vague reasons that team principal Andrea Ferrari will be “unavailable because of health reasons,” one can only begin to wonder if the real reason behind the postponement is to solidify their oral agreement with Hopper, or to buy time to find a new rider.
As always, time will tell on this one.
Source: RoadRacing World