John Hopkins has not had much luck as a wildcard rider in MotoGP this season. After a relatively successful race replacing Alvaro Bautista at Jerez, the American has twice received the call up as a wildcard, and has not been able to race in either of them, after Suzuki today confirmed that Hopkins has been forced to pull out of the Sepang round of MotoGP.
Hopkins' withdrawal from Sepang is directly connected to his pulling out at Brno. The American broke his finger during practice in the Czech Republic, ruling him out of the race there. Hopkins then had surgery to fix the broken finger and went on to complete the season in BSB, but the higher stresses of racing a MotoGP bike have caused the plates holding his finger together to come apart, preventing him from bending his finger. As it is his right hand, riding became impossible, and he has been forced to pull out of Sunday's race in Malaysia.
Below is the official press release from Suzuki:
Hopkins forced to withdraw from Malaysian Grand Prix
Publish Date: Saturday, October 22, 2011
John Hopkins has had to withdraw from of this weekend's Sepang GP due to further complications with the broken finger he damaged in Brno earlier this season.
Hopkins was due to make a wild-card appearance for the Rizla Suzuki team this weekend, but the third finger on his right-hand that he broke in the Czech Republic – also as a wild-card entry – has re-broken at the knuckle. The finger is swollen and seized overnight, making it impossible to ride a MotoGP machine competitively or safely.
Hopkins will stay for the remainder of the weekend to give his full support to team-mate Álvaro Bautista and the Rizla Suzuki squad, before he returns to America for further surgery and convalescence to repair the damage to his hand and enable him to make a full recovery in time for next season.
"I knew my hand was sore after yesterday afternoon, because it was hurting when I was riding. It is definitely a lot more painful riding a MotoGP bike than it was the British Superbike, mainly due to the immense braking forces on the GSV-R. I woke up just before six this morning and I had quite a bit of pain so I tried to loosen it up and bend it, but that wasn't an option. The screws and the plates in the finger have come apart and there's just no movement in the knuckle at all, so I cannot bend the finger. If I get any further damage to the injury it could result in amputation and certainly don't want that! My Doctor is totally confident that he can fix it, but I just haven't been able to rest it and give it the proper time needed to repair it over the last six weeks. I thought it would be fine to ride this weekend and had every hope of it working, but I didn't expect the amount of force that goes into riding a GP bike would cause such a problem.
"I am so sorry for the team and Rizla Suzuki, because they have given me such a great opportunity again and now I can't ride past the Friday - it's heartbreaking and I can't express my disappointment. It's such a shame and I couldn't be more upset, but the priority now is to get it fixed and get myself ready for the 2012 season."