MotoGP: Hopper in battle with pain

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  • MotoGP: Hopper in battle with pain

MotoGP: Hopper in battle with pain

John Hopkins served as the substitute at the Gran Premio bwin de Espana, for Rizla Suzuki prime rider Alvaro Bautista. Rizla Suzuki was not able to qualify for the first round of the season, Commercialbank Grand Prix of Qatar, due to the Bautista’s fracture in his left femur which he suffered during a free practice session at Losail circuit.

In the second round of the season John Hopkins was the man to bring Rizla Suzuki team back in the race at Jerez circuit. He had a chance to take a dream start after a long time out of MotoGP. He qualified for the Spanish Grand Prix with 1.4 seconds off from Casey Stoner who secured the pole position. Hopkins was able to finish at 10th place in the race.

Hopkins admitted to using alcohol to bear the pain of the injuries he sustained in the past years, "I was trying not to take painkillers, and basically I was trying to drink away the pain." In an honest and open interview with Michael Scott and GP Week, Hopkins said: "I'd always liked to drink and party on Sunday nights. Like anything I do I take things to extremes.”

This was Hopkins’ way of life in his party years, but when the good times passed, he used alcohol as a substitute for painkillers and to deal with failures in his personal life. This helped John Hopkins to relax and cope with depression associated with his down ward spiraling career.

Riding a MotoGP bike after three years, and efficiently adapting the Bridgestone control-tyres and advanced on board electronics in GSV-R, Hopkins performance on the Rizla Suzuki was nothing short of impressive.

Hopkins’s last race on the MotoGP bike was in 2008. With a fourth place finish in the 2007 season of MotoGP, being his career best, he decided to move to Kawasaki from Rizla Suzuki for the 2008 MotoGP season. The move was noticed as being a financial benefit rather than a career focused move, bur the season was jeopardized from the beginning. Hopper was suffering from an uncompetitive bike Kawasaki Ninja ZX-RR, and later his leg injuries made his fall clear.

By 2009, which was his second season with the Kawasaki panel, the Japanese company decided to cease its operations in MotoGP racing as a result of the world economic crises. Hopkins was lucky to get a new stage in the World Superbike with Honda, but his injuries forced him to miss many races during the racing season, ruining his racing career.

His best finish had been in eighth place upon his return in the race at Donington Park. He was able to complete one race out of two which caused his steep fall. The last race was at Nurburgring where he hit from behind and ran over. He was found to be unconscious for 16 minutes, with a torn shoulder among other injuries.