The Hopper is the only American hopeful competing in World Superbike this year.
The Suzuki effort in SBK eroded in recent years from the at-one-time title-dominating Alstare squad, to last year’s single-rider team. This year, however, the British-based Crescent Suzuki team steps up from British Superbike with a talented two-rider effort. Former factory Aprilia rider Leon Camier teams with Crescent’s 2011 BSB ace, John Hopkins. The Crescent team is familiar with SBK, regularly contesting the series as wild card entries at the U.K. rounds. In fact, Hopkins nabbed Superpole at Silverstone in 2011, followed by a 5-7 result on race day. The team also enjoys the support of tuning powerhouse Yoshimura – the Yosh team having contested select rounds in 2011 with Australian Superbike champ Josh Waters.
Crescent Fixi Suzuki
Hopkins nearly had a fairy tale season in 2011. Rebounding from professional and personal setbacks (read more in our exclusive John Hopkins Jerez Interview
), Hopkins started off the season with a fresh slate in BSB riding for Cresent Suzuki. Making history as the first American to take a BSB victory, Hopper was on track to take the title as well. Then the
Leon Camier gets a fresh start with the Crescent Suzuki squad after a two-year stint on the factory Aprilia RSV4.
hard luck rider ran into injury, breaking his right ring finger during a MotoGP wild card ride at Brno. While Hopkins was able to battle right up to the bitter end for the BSB title, he lost the title to Tommy Hill in a dramatic finale. Hopkins’ unwavering goal is a return to MotoGP, but that door closed (for now) with Suzuki’s exit from Grand Prix. So Hopkins hitched up with Crescent for its promotion to SBK, actually his second stint in the series after an injury plagued 2009 campaign.
Unfortunately for American fans, Hopper is confirmed out for the season opener after breaking his hand, again, in preseason testing. Hopkins actually broke his hand at the base of his finger, which caused so much grief in 2011 – first with multiple surgeries and then finally with a serious infection and eventually amputation of the top two knuckles. While Hopkins recoups from his latest surgery, Australian rider and BSB regular Josh Brookes will fill in at Phillip Island.
As for Camier, the former British Supersport and Superbike champion gets a fresh SBK slate moving to Suzuki. The English rider moved into SBK after demolishing the field in BSB, but his two years on the factory Aprilia were overshadowed by Biaggi’s performance. Camier’s three podiums and zero wins in 2011 may have been underwhelming, but the lanky rider suffered through a bout of mononucleosis early in the season, which hindered his sophomore campaign. A British rider now on a British team, Camier has already expressed improvement in communication with a common native tongue in the garage. Camier’s fortunes could easily turn aboard the Suzuki.
2012 Suzuki SBK Roster:
- Top Rider – Leon Camier or John Hopkins?
- Top Team – Crescent Fixi Suzuki
- Dark Horse – Leon Camier or John Hopkins?
#2 Leon Camier - Crescent Fixi Suzuki
#21 John Hopkins - Crescent Fixi Suzuki
So that’s the preview for the real World SBK racing, but now let’s get to the truly important stuff – Fantasy Superbike. That’s right… Ahem. Hear ye! Hear ye! Sign up now for Fantasy Superbike! Turn Nostradamus-like prognostications into bench racing glory. Players who sign up can also enter to win two Clubhouse Weekend passes to Miller Motorsports Park when World Superbike pays its annual visit to the States. Sign up for Fantasy Superbike today!