After a year which started without a ride and was later blighted by injuries, John Hopkins career looked to be heading into a dead end. The competitive rides in both MotoGP and World Superbikes filled up, leaving the former factory Suzuki and Kawasaki MotoGP rider without a seat in 2010.
His salvation looked like coming from Italy, where the FB Corse MotoGP team had pencilled him in as their rider for the development year 2010. The role would mainly involve a lot of testing of the 800cc triple, designed by Oral Engineering and based on the previous design for BMW. However, the FB Corse team were confident of competing in several MotoGP rounds as a wildcard, and possibly even racing a full season. But given that development on the FB Corse MotoGP bike is still at an early stage, the bike is unlikely to be competitive.
So it looks like John Hopkins is turning his attentions elsewhere. Despite having a verbal agreement to ride the FB Corse bike, Hopper's management is hard at work making alternative arrangements back in the US. A story over on GPOne.com had previously linked Hopkins to a ride on the Rockstar Makita Suzuki in the AMA, but given the American's long-standing relationship with Monster Energy, the likelihood of Hopper riding for another brand of energy drink seemed highly unlikely.
But GPOne.com's confusion was merely one of which Suzuki Hopper would be riding in the DMG's American Superbike class. Today, Roadracing World's David Swarts is reporting that Hopkins is to test the Team Hammer Suzuki at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California at the beginning of February, and that the team is "working on a deal" to have Hopkins race in the AMA for 2010. Given that Team Hammer is run by Roadracing World's founder and editor John Ulrich, the "team source" quoted is almost certainly very well informed indeed.
The deal is once again likely to be bankrolled by Hopkins' personal sponsor Monster Energy. The outstanding relationship the Anglo-American has with the energy drink giant previously helped fund Kawasaki's MotoGP project, and Monster are almost certain to underwrite the Team Hammer / M4 Suzuki project. Given the level op support previously provided by the energy drink giant, and Kawasaki's withdrawal from the AMA series, Monster are a safe bet to take on the role of title sponsor for Team Hammer and John Hopkins.