John Hopkins hopes he can earn a chance to race for Suzuki in MotoGP again after rejoining the team for some filming work in Qatar today.
The American raced for Suzuki's factory MotoGP team from 2003 to 2007, and will be riding for the Crescent Suzuki squad in British Superbikes this season.
With Suzuki having cut back to just a single MotoGP entry for Alvaro Bautista this year, Hopkins has been lined-up as a standby in case the Spaniard is injured. Although he will not be testing with the team in the official Qatar sessions on Sunday and Monday, he rode the GSV-R for promotional purposes at the track today.
"It's really good to have been given this opportunity and it's just been great to be here," said Hopkins. "It feels really cool to be back out and riding on a GP bike, even if it was just for filming it was still a lot of fun.
"I did start to get a decent feeling on the bike and it still feels awesome, even with the minimal amount of laps we were doing."
Hopkins left Suzuki for Kawasaki in 2008, but was left high and dry when the Japanese firm then withdrew from MotoGP before 2009. He subsequently raced in World and AMA Superbikes, though he was hampered by injuries. The 27-year-old is now trying to rebuild his career after surgery finally cured a long-standing wrist problem last year, and hopes to use British Superbikes as a springboard back to the top level.
"It would be great to race the Suzuki in a MotoGP event, so hopefully I can have some success in BSB and get the chance to go for it in a grand prix again sometime in the future," said Hopkins.
"My ultimate goal is to get back to MotoGP, but for now my full focus is on doing the best I can in the British Superbike championship with the Samsung Crescent team."