After a busy few weeks of racing, with impressive performances in the BSB and World Superbike championships, John Hopkins' luck ran out at Brno on Saturday morning. The American, appearing at the Czech Grand Prix as a wildcard for Rizla Suzuki, crashed in very wet conditions, breaking one finger and fracturing another, ruling him out of further participation for the weekend.
Hopkins had posted a string of outstanding results, scoring a pole position, a 5th and a 7th as a wildcard in the Silverstone World Superbike round, then a couple of podiums the following weekend at Brands Hatch in BSB, where he is currently 2nd in the championship. His performance so far at Brno had been just as strong, setting the 7th and 10th fastest time in the first two sessions of free practice, well in touch with regular Suzuki rider Alvaro Bautista. But the tricky conditions on the entrance to Turn 3 - the same place that Casey Stoner crashed on Saturday morning - caught the American out and saw him ruled out through injury.
Hopkins will now return home to California, where he will undergo surgery to have the injury corrected.
Below is the official press release announcing Hopkins' withdrawal:
Hopkins out of Brno Grand Prix
Publish Date: Saturday, August 13, 2011
Rizla Suzuki's wild-card rider John Hopkins will be unable to compete in the rest of this weekend's proceedings at the Brno Grand Prix after crashing in this morning's practice.
Hopkins crashed at turn three on his sixth lap in the very wet and slippery conditions, and as he slid into the gravel his right hand sustained an impact causing a break and dislocation of his third finger and fracture of his second finger. He was immediately taken to the medical centre to have x-rays, where the injury was diagnosed and set in traction Hopkins will now return to America to have an operation to repair the injury as he aims to ensure he is fit for the next round of the British Superbike Championship at Cadwell Park later this month.
Rizla Suzuki wishes him a speedy recovery and will update on his progress as more information becomes known.
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
"This morning's injury is a huge disappointment to all of us at Rizla Suzuki and of course mostly to John. He is completely devastated that he is not able to compete in the Grand Prix tomorrow, especially as his form yesterday was extremely promising. He was just building up to speed very gradually in the wet conditions and, on the first lap that he tried to push a little bit harder, he made a simple mistake and folded the front. It was on exactly the same corner that Casey had done the same thing at the start of the session, but John was just less lucky and as he entered the gravel trap the angle of his hand meant that the impact folded his fingers. This caused a substantial break to one finger and further damage to another. If the injury had been his left hand he would be on the GSV-R this afternoon, but to control a MotoGP bike and expect to be competitive with that injury to his throttle and braking hand is completely unrealistic.
"From the team, thanks to John for being so professional and a pleasure to work with this weekend. It was also great to have a two-rider team again and all the clear advantages that it brings. Despite what happened this morning I believe everybody in MotoGP was impressed with the potential shown here in Brno by John. I have no doubt that we will see him on a Grand Prix bike again in the near future."