MotoGP: Hopkins to Race Jerez GP

Hopper to replace injured Bautista

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Mar. 21, 2011
John Hopkins has officially been named Rizla Suzuki’s replacement for injured MotoGP racer Álvaro Bautista.

Hopkins, who rode for Suzuki in the 2003-2007 seasons, will ride the GSV-R at the April 3 round in Spain’s Jerez circuit, and possibly more rounds, depending on how long it takes Bautista to recover. Hopkins is slated to compete in the British Superbike series for Crescent Suzuki and may not be available for the ensuing MotoGP rounds at Estoril and Le Mans.

Bautista broke his left leg in a high speed crash during a practice session at the season-opening Qatar round. The second-year MotoGP racer underwent surgery to pin his thigh bone and will return to his home in Madrid, Spain, for further treatment.

“The reason for the crash was quite simple – pushing too hard in this section without enough temperature in the new tire – very similar to Rossi’s accident in Mugello last year,” says Paul Denning, Rizla Suzuki team manager and owner of Crescent Suzuki. “But the real reasons behind that – maybe feeling some pressure after losing track time on Thursday night with the arm pump, wanting to get back into the top group of lap-times as soon as possible – are more complex and unfortunately Álvaro paid a heavy price.”

John Hopkins Rizla Suzuki

Suzuki tried to find a replacement rider in Qatar but was unable to find one on such short notice. Hopkins was in the U.S. after taking part in a photoshoot in Qatar the week prior, while Suzuki test rider Nobuatsu Aoki remained in earthquake-stricken Japan where travel still remains difficult.

The team also sought Moto2 racers who had experience in the premier class but they were too committed to their first race of the season.

Related Reading
MotoGP: Bautista Breaks Leg in Qatar
MotoGP 2011 Qatar Results