UPDATED: Hopkins on His Withdrawal from Malaysian Grand Prix

Henny Ray Abrams | October 21, 2011


 John Hopkins is out of the Malaysian Grand Prix with continuing complications to the finger he first broke in the August Czech Grand Prix.Hopkins had complained about problems with the third finger on his left hand after finishing Friday’s combined practice sessions in 14th place out of 18 at the Sepang International Circuit. But he gave no indication that he was planning to withdraw. But when he woke up early on Saturday morning, he discovered that the finger had re-broken at the knuckle after swelling up overnight.

“I knew it was sore yesterday and, I mean, to be honest, it’s been kind of normal life for the last month and a half for extreme soreness after a day of riding,” Hopkins said during an interview in his office at the Sepang circuit. “So I figured nothing was abnormal. It was a lot sorer than I expected while on the bike.”The force of braking, braking pressure, maneuverability, everything on the MotoGP bike is escalated ten times as far as physical strength and demand on the bike. And so I knew it was sore and I had a couple of moments yesterday coming onto the straightaway where the rear had come out and had some head shake. Like I said, I knew it was sore.”I did everything I could last night;  iced it, did everything. Woke up at about 5:30-5:45 this morning and just completely locked. I mean,. I can feel it now. The screws have completely come apart and the bone’s basically separated again. I mean I haven’t gone more…I had surgery and I haven’t gone six or seven days without riding. No hyperbaric chamber, laser therapy. Everything helps, it helps speed up things. Six, seven days just isn’t physically possible for bones to connect. I knew the bones never connected after Silverstone, after the second round when I had gotten the screws and pins, but the metal was thankfully still holding it together and the knuckle was still able to function and that has been the case and I knew it needed severe, just like proper physical therapy treatment and rest and everything after this weekend, regardless. But just the force of yesterday has just completely opened the screws and now the screws have actually come apart. It’s not even about riding through pain. It’s like severe damage can be caused now that there’s jagged metal that’s open within the finger. “The Sepang GP was the third MotoGP race of the season for Hopkins. He finished tenth in place of the injured Alvaro Bautista in the wet/dry Jerez race, then crashed in the wet free practice in Brno. That impacted the rest of the season and continues to.”Yeah, it’s disappointing and more disappointing that I’m not able to ride here again past Friday, like Brno,” he said. “We made it to Friday and couldn’t race. Here, same. Made it through Friday and then, yeah, I felt really comfortable on the bike yesterday. I felt like I was starting to get somewhere. And still getiing used to the track and tires. Woke up mentally feeling great and physically just impossible to ride.”Hopkins will stay at the race track to support teammate Alvaro Bautista and await word on his future. Suzuki is expected to make an announcement this weekend on their future in MotoGP. Hopkins has an offer on the table from LCR Honda, but Suzuki would be his first choice. His British Superbike team, Crescent Suzuki, is going World Superbike racing next year and that’s one of a few WSB options.But most important right now is getting healthy. He expects to have his 25th surgery on Tuesday or Wednesday in San Diego, after which he plans to rest until he’s fully fit. Hopkins said his doctor has “already threatened amputation if I can’t give it the time it needs to heal. But I mean, it’s the end of the season. I was intending on taking a complete month off after this race regardless of what deal came about.”

Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor

Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.