2011 BSB Championship runner up and former MotoGP and AMA man John Hopkins plans to make another go at the World Superbike Championship after signing with Crescent Suzuki, as the UK-based team makes the move from the national to the world stage. Hopkins completes the two-man lineup with his new teammate, Leon Camier, who makes the move from the Alitalia Aprilia team. Camier will begin testing the Crescent Suzuki Powered by Yoshimura GSX-R1000 at Portimao, Portugal later this month, with Hopkins joining him in the tests in early 2012. The first race of next year’s calendar is scheduled for Sunday, February 26 at Phillip Island, Australia.
Hopkins is currently at his U.S. home in California, recovering from surgery to correct a finger injury he sustained at Brno while riding as a wild card for the Rizla Suzuki MotoGP team. He had a successful first season with Crescent Suzuki in the British national series, narrowly missing out on the championship at the last race of the year to Swan Yamaha’s Tommy Hill. Hopkins contested the World Superbike Series in 2009 as a mid-season replacement for Robbie Rolfo at the ill-fated Stiggy Honda team, but injuries – and a horrific crash at the Nurburgring – coupled with Stiggy’s decision to pull out of the series, ended Hopkins WSBK hopes. He signed with John Ulrich’s team in AMA Superbike the following year but was again hampered by injuries. Earlier this season, he captured Superpole at the Silverstone WSBK weekend before finishing fifth in race 1 and seventh in race 2 as a wild card.
“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. 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.