Hopkins To Stiggy Honda

Paul Carruthers | March 19, 2009

After a tumultuous off-season in which he saw his factory Kawasaki MotoGP ride disappear, John Hopkins is set to go racing again. The Californian will ride a Stiggy Honda CBR1000RR in the World Superbike Championship, beginning with the next round in Valencia.Hopkins will make his World Superbike debut alongside teammate Leon Haslam, April 3-5 in Valencia Spain. He will test prior to the first race at Almeria in Spain.Hopkins was set to start the second year of a two-year contract with Kawasaki when the factory announced on January 9 that they were pulling out of the MotoGP World Championship. He has since settled with the team.Hopkins finished on the podium four times in the 2007 MotoGP Championship en route to finishing fourth in the title chase on a factory Suzuki. Hopkins then moved to Kawasaki, but ended the 2008 championship in 16th place after suffering with myriad of injuries. His teammate Anthony West was worse off, ending the season 18th on the ZX-RR.Although he doesn’t have any World Superbike experience, Hopkins does have racing experience with production-based sportbikes – with three victories and a title in AMA 750cc Supersport and two victories and a championship in AMA Formula Xtreme in his resume. Those wins and titles came on Suzukis before Hopkins made the jump to the World Championship, starting in 500cc Grand Prix racing in 2002 when he left AMA racing to ride a Red Bull-backed Yamaha owned by Bob MacLean.According to sources, Hopkins will continue to be backed by Monster Energy, Alpinestars, Arai and Spy Optics.

Paul Carruthers | Editor

Paul Carruthers took over as the editor of Cycle News in 1993 after serving as associate editor since starting his career at the publication in 1985. Carruthers has covered every facet of the sport in his near-28-year tenure at America's Daily Motorcycle News Source.