Two sagas finally came to an end this weekend, one involving former MotoGP/WSBK rider John Hopkins, and the other involving another MotoGP/WSBK alum, Garry McCoy. Hopkins had initially been linked with the former World Superbike FB Corse squad that is planning to develop and campaign a MotoGP bike using the Oral Engineering-designed pneumatic valve three-cylinder engine that was originally tested by BMW a few years ago when the Bavarian company was planning on entering the MotoGP grid. The FB Corse team even issued a press release stating Hopkins’ intention to ride for them. All that was thrown up in the air when Team Hammer (known as M4 Suzuki last year) issued a press release a couple of weeks ago stating that Hopkins was going to test their Suzuki GSX-R AMA superbike as part of a hoped-for signing to ride for them in the 2010 American series.
That hope came to fruition, as Team Hammer (now known as Team M4 Monster Suzuki, with Hopper’s personal contract with Monster Energy obviously contributing) issued a press release yesterday stating that the MotoGP veteran had indeed signed with the team to compete in the AMA American Superbike series for 2010. Hopkins will be paired with current team rider Martin Cardenas (another rider with Grand Prix experience). The American’s signing with the team gives the AMA series a badly needed boost in star power, as many former factory riders have either left the series or are still without rides for this season.
Hopkins’ move left the door open for fellow MotoGP veteran Garry McCoy—who was unceremoniously sacked from the factory-supported ParkinGO BE1 Triumph World Supersport squad earlier this month after scoring two podium finishes last year, with American Jason DiSalvo unknowingly taking his spot for 2010—and with no other seats open so late in off-season, the Australian quickly swooped in and apparently has signed with the FB Corse team, according to British tabloid MCN.
While Hopkins’ return to competition in the States is assured, McCoy’s return to MotoGP is less so, as the team is not listed on the provisional entry list for the series, and it’s been reported that they only plan on entering a few races as a wildcard entry as they attempt to develop the machine during the year. One stumbling block is that the Oral three-cylinder engine originally used an electro-hydraulically actuated transmission, which has since been banned by the FIM, so the team will have to fabricate a completely new gearbox—while not impossible, much easier said than done.