Hopkins Out of Assen

Cycle News Staff | June 27, 2008

The following release is from Kawasaki:


Kawasaki’s John Hopkins has been ruled out of tomorrow’s Dutch TT at Assen, after sustaining a fractured left ankle and suspected compression injuries to his left knee in a high-speed crash during this afternoon’s qualifying session. The 25-year-old Anglo-American lost the front of his Ninja ZX-RR under braking for the left-hander at turn 12, one of the fastest corners on the Assen circuit, in the closing minutes of the timed session. Hopkins managed to separate himself from his sliding Ninja ZX-RR, but sustained the injuries to his left leg when he collided with the tyre wall on the outside of the corner.

The initial assessment in the Clinica Mobile was that Hopkins would be out of action for at least 20 days, but the Kawasaki pilot will return to Los Angeles tomorrow for a further medical examination by Doctor Art Ting. Only once full extent of his injuries is known will a decision be made as to whether Hopkins will return to action at the next race in Sachsenring, which takes place in just two weeks time.

Teammate Anthony West, who has struggled to recapture the form he found last time out at Donington Park, has suffered with cornering troubles around the technical 4.555km Circuit van Drenthe. The 26-year old had looked strong throughout the wet practice this morning, but with the clouds clearing for the afternoon, the dry conditions brought no joy to the Australian racer.

Despite overcoming some of the traction problems that hampered him in the opening part of the season with a new base setting, a frustrated West has found it difficult to turn his Ninja ZX-RR at high speeds, leaving him on the sixth row of the grid in 16th position.

As the sole Kawasaki starter for tomorrow’s Grand Prix, West will be fighting to repeat the top ten finish he achieved last weekend at Donington Park.

Anthony West:

“This morning was wet and we found a good pace but it’s a completely different situation in the dry. We’ve not had many problems with the spinning that we have had in the past, which is one forward step, however, with the extra grip from the rear, I just can’t get the bike to turn. At Donington we could get away with this, but the Assen circuit is one where the corners flow together, and it’s vitally important to be accurate with the correct lines to set up each corner. The problem I’ve got means that it just isn’t possible, I can’t get on the gas because the bike just runs wide and it messes up an entire lap, which is really frustrating. I feel like I’m battling to get around here and the problem was exaggerated with a qualifying tyre because it has so much more grip. On a positive note we do have a lot more usable traction on a race tyre, so if we can find a compromise to have a more balanced set-up, then I am certain we can be in contention and I’ll be looking to achieve a good result tomorrow.”

Kawasaki Competition Manager Michael Bartholemy:

“In practice everything seemed to be quite positive and I felt confident that we would be able to achieve a good result here. However, things have not gone to plan today. Anthony has been struggling and John’s crash may affect the next two races, which is a real disappointment. The injuries to his ankle were not caused by the fall itself, but the collision with the unprotected wall on the outside of turn 12. John will now return to America for treatment and we’ll make a decision on Sachsenring once we know the extent of his injuries. Anthony is normally fast at this circuit, but he has encountered some new problems here and we will be working hard to help him find the rhythm he had last time out at Donington Park.”