The rumors which emanated from the London Motorcycle show yesterday, that John Hopkins would be joining Leon Haslam at Stiggy Motorsports, have already provoked a reaction. Robby Rolfo - the man Hopkins was rumored to be replacing - has posted a message on his personal website, which would seem to rebut any such allegations.
The article is phrased very carefully, without mentioning any of the rumors directly, but Rolfo makes it perfectly clear that he expects to be riding once the World Superbike circus hits Phillip Island. Here's a translation of what he writes:
Over the past few days I've received a lot of mail about my injury, and first of all, I want to thank you all and let you know that your support has been really great! I was only able to do a few laps at Portimao, the injury is still too fresh; I knew it wasn't going to be easy, but it was important for me to get on the track, to gain confidence in the bike and get used to the new team! I'm very happy, because the potential is really good! Now, there are only a few more days until the next in Australia, and I'm training hard to improve my shape and my motivation!
I spend every minute I can on getting better, in therapy, running, cycling, swimming, always with music: a special thank you to Diabo for the Canto del Loco songs!!! I'm using every day I can so I can arrive in Australia in top form for the next test!
Greetings, and as always, gaaassss!
It's clear that Rolfo believes his seat is still safe, and he is making a very public statement that he is doing all he can to be fit enough to be competitive. But as all of the medical advice he has received has been to the effect that he should have surgery to solve the instability in his shoulder, there is good reason to doubt that he will be able to race to his full potential. And Johan Stigefelt, boss of Stiggy Racing, will be thinking very much along the same lines.
The Dutch website Racesport spoke to Johan Stigefelt directly about this matter, and Stigefelt dismissed the story out of hand. "So far it looks like Roby will be completely recovered for the next test at Phillip Island. There is no reason to be looking for a replacement right now, and we haven't spoken to any of the riders whose names have been mentioned in the media. Roby will continue to be part of our Superbike team, alongside Leon," Stigefelt told Racesport.nl.