Confirming earlier rumors (x2), reports are coming out of the Crescent Racing’s British Superbike team that Anglo-American John Hopkins will be riding for the Suzuki-based team in the upcoming 2011 season. While no signatures have reportedly been made, Crescent Racing Team Manager Jack Valentine is calling Hopper’s ride for the now non-factory Suzuki team (Relentless by TAS has been tapped by Suzuki to be its “factory team” for 2011 in BSB) a “done deal,” as Hopkins has already begun training for his new assignment, and is eager to get back to racing.
The British Superbike series seems like a last hope bid for Hopkins, who is coming off a controversial season with Team Hammer’s M4 Suzuki squad. Team owner John Ulrich blasted Hopkins on the WERA message board late last year, all but accusing the American-born rider of lying to him about his physical health before the start of the 2010 season.
Before his one-year stint in AMA Pro Racing last season, Hopkins found himself flirting with a return to MotoGP via the vaporware FB Corse team, which had a propensity to over-promise and under-deliver on just about everything. Hopkins in 2009 found himself having a lackluster season in the World Superbike series with the Stiggy Honda squad, a change of venue created after Kawasaki left him without a ride in MotoGP when the Japanese manufacturer closed up shop in MotoGP because of the failing economy.
With British Superbike fans viewing this move by Hopper as a homecoming for the rider with a Union Jack on his back, BSB seems like the only series untapped by Hopkins to-date. With reports indicating that he still has a Monster Energy drink sponsorship (Crescent Racing is expected to announce a new title sponsorship with Hopkins on board as well), Hopkins is one of the few riders that brings money with him to the negotiating table, a prerequisite that has come about in the cash-strapped paddocks of series around the globe.
However should Hopkins have a dismal showing across the pond for 2011, we have a hard time imagining he will find a place racing in motorcycles ever again. For 2011, it appears things are do or die for Hopper.