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|10-18-2015, 10:10 PM||#1|
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John Hopkins Lands BSB Ride For 2016
John Hopkins lands a full time ride in the British Superbike Championship in 2016. Photo Courtesy of BSB
Just when you think he’s down for the count, John Hopkins bounces back. After a few rough years and an almost career-ending injury, Hopkins has landed a full-time gig in 2016 with former rival Tommy Hill’s THM ePayMe Yamaha team for its debut season in the British Superbike Championship .
It looked grim for Hopkins who was without a ride at the beginning of this season, but he was brought on board by the Lloyds British Moto Rapido Ducati team around mid season to fill in for injured rider Jakub Smrz in the British Superbike Championship. Hopkins showed glimpses of his former self, impressing the team and was brought on as a permanent replacement for the rest of the season. He scored a personal-season best finish for himself and the team with a podium in race one of the season finale at Brands Hatch.
The former MotoGP rider is looking forward to the opportunity and has given him extra motivation to come out fighting for the championship.
“I couldn’t be more excited, to be able to start the 2016 season on a Yamaha after seeing what it was capable of this year,” Hopkins said. “I have always just thought in the back of my mind that it was a bike that would really sort my riding style. This new Yamaha R1 is truly something special and honestly I am so excited to just get my first chance to ride it and give it a go.
“I think this is possibly going to be one of the first times in my career bar none that I will have one of the most competitive machines out in the field and with that in mind I am going to do everything myself I possibly can, mentally and physically to come back and try and win this Championship.”
It is also a new beginning for Hill who recently announced details of his new team as he returns to the Championship, with title sponsor ePayMe and fully-supported by Yamaha, the manufacturer that has been synonymous with Hill’s own racing career.
“We have secured a great two rider line-up for next season and I believe that both riders have huge potential,” Hill said. “We will be announcing our second rider very soon. We have seen what a great package the Yamaha has been in the championship this season with SMR [Milwaukee Yamaha] and we have no doubt that both riders will be ready to deliver strong performances for the team in our debut year in 2016.”
The pair confirmed the new partnership at the site where the former rivals battled in 2011 for what is considered the closest ever title-decider in BSB history, going down to the wire in the final race and won by Hill by a mere .006 of a second.
“I am really happy to confirm John Hopkins as part of the THM ePayMe Yamaha team next year,” Hill said. “It’s particularly poignant to announce John [Hopkins] here at Brands Hatch today because this is the scene of the most memorable race of both our careers and is still the most talked about race in BSB history.”
After such a fierce rival (even if it was four years ago), how would it be to have Hill as his boss?
“If someone had said to me then that I would be riding for Tommy Hill’s team I would have said no way!” Hopkins answered. “At that moment in time I saw red; I was happy for him as he put in a lot of work and he did win it fair and square. I am really happy and pleased with today’s news because at the end of the day it makes a really good story – racers are a really tight knit community and I am really happy for Tommy that he has got this opportunity to run such a great team. I am going to be out there trying to win that championship for us!”
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