John Hopkins (motorcycle racer) – WOI Encyclopedia Italia

28 Apr 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on John Hopkins (motorcycle racer) – WOI Encyclopedia Italia
Suzuki GSV-R


Early Years

Hopkins began riding Motocross bikes as a child and won his first race on a MiniBike on 1986, switching to road racing full time in 1999. In 2002. he signed for the Red Bull Yamaha team in MotoGP. riding a 500 cc two-stroke machine where he finished 15th on the championship. In 2003. he signed for Suzuki to ride their 990 cc four-stroke GSV-R. remaining with the team for the 2004 and 2005 seasons.

MotoGP Career


The 2002 season saw Hopkins join the WCM RedBull Yamaha team alongside multiple race winner Garry McCoy. The team was using Yamaha YZR500 motorcycles on lease from Yamaha. Overall the YZR500 was considered to be uncompetative that ear, due to a change in the regulations allowing 990 cc 4-stroke motorcycles to race against 500 cc 2-stroke motorcycles.

Although the 2-strokes held (on average) a 10 kg weight advantage over the 4-strokes, they had between 30 and 50 less hp depending on the engine configuration used for the racetrack. Hopkins finished the season ranked 15th, with 58 points, which put him 25 points clear of his teammate McCoy.


In 2003 Hopkins joined the Suzuki factory team. This year he would ride a 990 cc V4 4-stroke. In 2003 John was teamed with 2000 world 500gp champion Kenny Roberts Jr Although he was racing a 4-stroke this year, the results didn’t seem to come as one would have expected. There are many theories for this, including the Suzuki’s lack of HP and it’s tendency to wear out tires faster than other bikes.

Suzuki GSV-R

This year also saw Hopkins involved in a turn 1 crash at the Japanese grand prix in Motegi, he was accused of causing this crash, and was suspended for one race. This suspension resulted in a DNS(did not start) at the Malaysian grand prix. Also noteworthy for the 2003 season was the crash in Italy where Kenny Roberts Jr’s GSV-R Suzuki suffered an engine management failure and the bike launched into Hopkins, putting both GSV-R ‘s out of the race.

At the end of the season, Hopkins finished in 17th place with 29 points. This finish put him 2 places and 7 points ahead of his teammate Kenny Roberts Jr.


The technology and technical advancement of the GSV-R was further developed in 2004. Most of the refinements took place in the engine management package, making the bike easier to ride. Towards the end of the year, the GSV-R was showing clear improvements, allowing Hopkins to move up the standings.

Unfortunately it also saw several mechanical failures, which effectivly undid the hard work to develop the motorcycle. Having qualified on the front row at Motegi. he was eliminated in a first-corner crash. Of note is that John was crashed into by Loris Capirossi. one of the same riders he himself had hit at the very same turn 1 at Motegi in 2003.

Overall he finished 16th.

Suzuki GSV-R
Suzuki GSV-R
Suzuki GSV-R
Suzuki GSV-R
Suzuki GSV-R
Suzuki GSV-R

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