John Hopkins will be back in the MCE British Superbike Championship next season as he re-unites with the Moto Rapido Ducati team and he already has designs on the podium on what will be a much more highly-developed Panigale than the one he left at the end of 2015.
The British-born Californian spent half a season with the Hampshire squad that year and was regularly on the pace, ending the year with a richly-deserved podium but was lured away in 2016 by Tommy Hill’s Yamaha team. Hopkins is back on the twin next season, though, and the enthusiasm is pouring out of him.
“I am very much looking forward to it. To be honest, towards the end of 2016 working on racing plans for 2017, going back to Moto Rapido and being back on the Ducati was one of my first choices from all the teams, so I am very happy we can put the deal together,” he told BSN from his San Diego home.
“The Panigale is definitely one of the most fun bikes I have ever ridden. In 2015, I hadn’t ridden a bike for about eight months prior to getting on it and I was amazed just how quickly I adapted to it. Things progressed and grew from there and I am pumped to progress it even further.”
“The bike’s rigidity suits my riding style and the power delivery, too. In MotoGP even with full electronics I used to have it setup with the rear wheel spinning, steering with the rear wheel, and the Ducati suits that style of riding, you can spin it really well and steer very early towards the apex.
“One of the things I missed this year was the Ducati’s power and things have progressed a long way since I last rode the bike so I can’t wait to get on and get out there. I am hoping to be right there are the front right at the beginning, that’s the plan.”