With the news that Crescent Suzuki would make a move from the British Superbike Championship, and enter into the World Superbike Championship, all eyes have been on whom the British team would field as riders. Anglo-American John Hopkins was heavily favored to be the still-unannounced teammate to Leon Camier on the squad, provided the former-MotoGP racer didn’t find his way back into the premier class. With Suzuki withdrawing from MotoGP last week and effectively ending Hopper’s 2012 MotoGP bid, Crescent Suzuki has now confirmed that Hopkins will make his return to World Superbike racing with the all-British team.
While surely not the ride Hopkins had at the top of his wish list, Hopper’s return to World Superbike marks the California native’s recovery and return to racing form, after more than a few tumultuous seasons. Moving from MotoGP to World Superbike and then AMA Pro Racing, Hopper’s return back to the US culminated with the falling out between him John Ulrich, the man often credited with discovering the talented American rider. After a lackluster season in the AMA, Hopkins moved across the pond where he found his old racing form.
Narrowly losing the British Superbike Championship, and having several wild card attempts in WSBK and MotoGP, Hopkins showed that he was overcoming not only his physical but mental demons, and was eager to reclaim his top-rider status in a world venue. Heavily rumored to several MotoGP rides, Hopkins is staying loyal to the Crescent Racing squad, and will continue his path back to MotoGP by competing in the 2012 World Superbike Championship.
“I am really happy to be joining up with the Crescent guys again. We had a great year in British Superbike and I’m sure we can continue that in WSB,” said Hopkins. “I wanted to get back into world championship racing and this is a natural progression from last year. The difference this time is that I will be going to tracks that I already know and have some reference from, so that should make some things a bit easier.”
“I know it’s going to be a big step, but with some big technical advances and Yoshimura on board, I’m sure the bike will be fully competitive. It will be great to work with Lez Pearson again, as we built up a strong relationship and his understanding of the way the bike works will be invaluable next year. I’m also looking forward to riding with Leon. I’m sure he’ll be strong next year and will be a difficult teammate to beat and also one who will push me to the limit.”
“I want to say thanks to Paul, Martyn, Jack and everyone at Crescent Suzuki for believing in me and giving me this opportunity,” Hopper continued. “I can’t wait to get on the bike and see what we can do. I know it’s not going to be an easy task by any means, but I have every intention of going out and trying to earn my first ever world championship for myself and the team. I’ll be doing everything in my power to make it happen.”