WSBK: Zemke to sub for injured Hopkins

Formula Xtreme champion to make WSBK debut

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, May. 05, 2009
Erion Honda’s Jake Zemke will fill in for the injured John Hopkins to race for Stiggy Honda in the Monza, Italy round of the World Superbike Championship.

Zemke, the 2008 AMA Formula Xtreme champion, will make his WSBK debut at the May 8-11 Monza round.

“I am extremely excited to race for the Stiggy Racing Honda team this weekend,” says Zemke. “They have a first rate team and have had some excellent results. I would like to wish Hopper (Hopkins) a quick recovery and thank him and the team for the opportunity to make my first World Superbike start. I also have to thank my current team, Erion Honda and my sponsors for their support.”

Hopkins dislocated his hip and fractured his left femur after high-siding during a practice session at the April 24 Assen round. The former MotoGP racer is expected to miss both the Monza round and the May 15-17 round in Kyalami, South Africa. Hopkins said he is aiming to return for the May 29-31 Utah round at Miller Motorsports Park.

Jake Zemke will make his WSBK debut, subbing for fellow American John Hopkins.Zemke will not be able to race in the Kyalami round due to a conflict with the scheduled AMA Daytona Sportbike round at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. Zemke will be available to race at the Utah WSBK round if Hopkins is still unable to race.

“The WSBK Championship is the most competitive championship there is, and making my start in the series is the next step in my career,” says Zemke. “I have been successful racing (in) America, but am really looking forward to joining the World Superbike paddock. The field is very fast and deep. The Monza track has a deep history of racing, and I know how passionate the Italian people are about racing. I know the odds will be against us, learning a new bike, new track, new tires, but I will give it my all at Monza for the Stiggy Racing Honda team.”

Stiggy Honda team manager Johan Stigefelt says Monza will be a tough challenge for Zemke, but the rider’s familiarity with Honda motorcycles will help.

“I know that Jake has been trying for a while to get a decent chance to come to Europe and race within the Superbike World Championship, and I am very happy that we can be the team to provide him that chance,” says Stigefelt. “It is a tough championship, and it will not be easy to jump straight into the action at a track you have never been on before, but Jake has a lot of experience and knows the Honda bikes very well. Our team has a lot to offer him and I think we will be able to get him on the pace quickly.”

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