Hopkins: I don't feel great, but I don't feel empty
A philosophical John Hopkins accepts a BSB title win 'was not meant to be', but says he is now ready for what the future brings.
An emotional John Hopkins was keeping his comments at the end of a dramatic maiden MCE British Superbike Championship season to a relative minimum, but was nonetheless full of praise for both his Samsung Crescent Suzuki team and Tommy Hill, the man who just beat him to the 2011 title by 0.006secs
Hopkins would find himself at the wrong side of a two point deficit by the end of the day, the American enduring a heart-breaking final round in which his efforts to pass Hill on the very final lap would result in him missing out by just 0.006secs in the sprint to the finish line.
However, it was the electrical glitch in the day's earlier race that arguably cost Hopkins the title, the usually reliable Suzuki grinding to a halt on the opening lap for an undiagnosed reason. Nonetheless, Hopkins got the bike going again, his impressive comeback getting him back up to 12th place.
With a straight-fight between himself and Hill in the final race to decide the title, Hopkins led his adversary for more than three-quarters of the race, only for Hill to overtake with three laps remaining. An exhilarating final lap would ensue, with Hopkins nosing back in front on three occasions, but he would ultimately fall just short.
Nonetheless, though he was visibly upset to miss by such a tiny margin, he wanted to congratulate Hill and thanked the Samsung Crescent Suzuki team for helping him get his career back on track this year.
"Well I don't feel great obviously, but I don't feel completely empty either," said Hopkins, who won five races on the way to his title challenge in 2011. "This has been a great season, I gave it everything I had but it just wasn't to be. So hats off to Tommy for taking the title.
"I couldn't be more grateful to the Samsung Crescent Racing team, they gave me everything including the best bike out there. I came into this year on a make or break basis in terms of my racing career but with their help I'm now set for a world championship ride next year. The team has put me there. I'm hugely grateful."
It isn't known exactly where Hopkins will race in 2012, though he expects to ride in either MotoGP or World Superbikes.