Hopkins joins Stiggy Honda WSBK team

American racer to ride CBR1000RR

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Mar. 20, 2009
Former Kawasaki MotoGP racer John Hopkins will join the Stiggy Honda team and compete in the 2009 World Superbike Championship.

The Ramona, Calif. native is scheduled to make his 2009 debut at the next WSBK round, April 3-5 in Valencia, Spain. Hopkins is expected to take part in a test on the Stiggy Motorsport Honda CBR1000RR during the next week.

Hopkins was entering his final year in a two-year contract with Kawasaki’s MotoGP team until the factory announced its withdrawal from the series on Jan. 9. MotoGP organizers worked to restore the Kawasaki team in some form, leading to the creation of the Hayate MotoGP team. The team opted to enter only one Kawasaki ZX-RR and unfortunately for Hopkins, the team decided to retain the newly-signed Marco Melandri as its sole rider.

Hopkins says he has resolved his contract issues with Kawasaki and is eager to move on.

John Hopkins will join Ben Spies to represent the U.S.A. in the 2009 World Superbike Championship.“Kawasaki and I worked it out where both parties left the relationship happy, and I am thankful to Kawasaki for letting me ride their bikes and race in their program. I’m excited about racing in the 2009 season and solely putting my focus on moving forward,” says Hopkins.

Stiggy Honda has yet to announce what Hopkins’ signing will mean for its existing riders, Leon Haslam and Roberto Rolfo. Haslem, a former British Superbike racer, currently sits fifth in the rider standings with one podium finish in four races. Rolfo’s best result was a 13th place finish in the season-opening race in Australia but failed to complete either race in the second round in Qatar.

Hopkins will join Yamaha’s Ben Spies as the only two Americans in the 2009 World Superbike Championship.