American John Hopkins had suffered so many brutal injuries in recent years racing Grand Prix and Superbike motorcycles that some thought it might be best if he called time on his career and rode off into the Southern California sunset.
The litany of his damaged limbs is numerous. Just for starters in the last three years: A badly damaged and infected finger that required amputation and a damaged hip that required hip replacement surgery. Previous to that? Wrists, legs, damaged back and loose teeth from crashes in nearly every series run in the world.
American Hopkins decided to take a break from racing in 2013 to let his hip and the rest of his body heal. And Hopkins admitted to British media that he considered retirement to avoid more of the crippling punishment that all elite riders suffer but has seemingly been especially cruel to him.
But Hopper has the itch again. He's only 30, and he wants to race next season, probably in World Superbike or British Superbike. Hopkins' ex-wife/current wife Ashleigh is due to give birth to their first child soon but impending fathrhood doesn't seem to have dulled Hopkins love of racing.
"I miss racing a lot," Hopkins said. "Three months ago I would have said I don't know what I want to do, but now I want to get back on a bike and race. I really miss it, and I'm hungry to ride."
The list of injuries that Hopkins has suffered in his racing career is so vast that it might make even the late Gary Nixon--who went to his grave renown as an iron man--pause.
Hopkins also would be very interested in serving as a test rider for Suzuki next season as the manufacturer finishes its preparations for a return to MotoGP in 2015. Hopkins rode a factory Suzuki GSX-R in MotoGP from 2003-07 and thinks a test ride would be an ideal bridge back to racing.
"Ideally I'd love to get the test rider deal with Suzuki because that means I wouldn't be in a high-pressure situation and could build up to things," Hopkins said. "I'd love to build with that project and then do some wild cards. If there is nothing like that in MotoGP, then I'll try for WSB and if not then try clinch the title in BSB."
It's unclear how likely Hopkins becoming a Suzuki MotoGP test rider is with the Suzuki GP team no longer in the control of Hopkins' friend Paul Denning. Valentino Rossi's manager, Davide Brivio, is currently managing the Suzuki comeback effort and Randy de Puniet has been filling in on the test rider side.
When Hopkins left the Suzuki fold to return to the US and undergo major hip replacement surgery, Denning said that if the American ever wanted to give it another go that they'd have a slot for him on the BSB or WSBK team.
Hopkins will do a track day tomorrow at Silverstone, as a guest of Suzuki UK and Crescent Suzuki.