News 21 Mar 2009

HOPKINS TO STIGGY HONDA OFFICIAL

Stiggy Racing press release:

Stiggy Racing Honda Team finally broke its silence today, confirming that John Hopkins will join the team from the third round of the Superbike World Championship in Valencia. Hopkins, who found himself out of a job following Kawasaki’s shock withdrawal from the MotoGP Championship earlier this year, has signed a deal with the team managed and run by former GP rider Johan Stigefelt.

Despite persistent rumours about Hopkins’ future, negotiations with Stiggy Racing Honda have remained in the background, with John Hopkins keeping his cool and telling fans and visitors on his official website to ‘expect a big treat’. This big treat, as now revealed, is his entry into the Superbike World Championship on a Stiggy Racing Honda Superbike.

Hopkins will join the team and help in the development of the all new Stiggy Racing Honda CBR1000RR. Leon Haslam has already lifted the lid on the potential of the bike, in the opening round of the championship, when he gave the team their maiden WSBK podium finish.

Team Manager Johan Stigefelt

“To be able to have John in our team is like a dream come true for all of us. It will put more pressure on our performance, but Leon, his crew and the whole team have done a great job so far and I am confident we can give John a good bike and a good structure.

Being a new team, everything is new to us and so we must learn each track as we go along. With no previous data to work with, we are mainly developing the bike during race weekends and sometimes it can take a whole weekend to find the right settings.

Our intention is to be the best Honda out there and beat as many factory teams as possible. It will be difficult but, seeing what we have achieved already and the experience we are gaining every day, I am confident we can compete at the top.”

John Hopkins (on his new team and WSBK expectations)

“I am really excited to get back out on the track and have nothing but good expectations. I have been watching SBK over the past few years and the series is always very exciting. Each year, it keeps growing and growing and drawing more and more attention. The racing seems a lot tighter than in MotoGP. The machines seem more evenly matched so, all and all, I am just really excited to get started.”

John Hopkins (on the potential of his new bike)

“Right from the start, in the first race, Leon showed that the bike could be put on the podium. The Stiggy Racing Honda has already proved that it is competitive and I would just like to adapt to it as quickly as possible. I want to be able to run at the front right from the get-go.

So far this season, Ben Spies and Nori Haga have shown their abilities to run at  the front and their championship intentions. I believe the bike, the team and myself have every capability of running at the front and dicing with the leaders. Starting from the 3rd race in, we will be at an obvious disadvantage in the points, but I am just going to put my head down and work my way to the front.”

My goal is to accumulate as many wins and podiums as possible. I am looking forward to the experience and riding all the new tracks. I would like to thank my sponsors, Monster, Alpinestars, and Arai, for standing by me this season, and I would like to thank Stiggy Racing Honda for giving me the opportunity to go racing in such a competitive series!”

The Stiggy Racing Honda squad has quickly established itself as a young team with a competitive rider set-up and a bike with huge potential. Johan Stigefelt has managed to put together an experienced Superbike team, including Hopkins’ new Crew Chief Kor Veldman, who previously worked with Vermeulen and Checa and won the World Title for Ten Kate (with James Toseland) in 2007.

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