After John Hopkins nasty crash on the last day of testing in Qatar, in which he broke a bone in his wrist, it was patently obvious that Hopper would not be able to take part in the official IRTA test which starts on Friday at Jerez in Spain. And now, MotoGrandPrix.it has ended the speculation of whether Chris Vermeulen would be the sole Suzuki rider at Jerez with a report that Hopper is to be replaced by Kousuke Akiyoshi for the duration of the test. Akiyoshi is active in Japanese Superbikes, and put in a creditable performance when appearing as a wildcard rider at the Japanese Grand Prix in Motegi last September, finishing 13th in the race, behind Chris Vermeulen, and qualifying in 12th spot, as fastest Suzuki.
Hopkins is expected to be fit enough to race at the season opener in Qatar on March 10th. After Qatar, he will have two more weeks to recover, giving his wrist a decent chance of recovery.