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Hopkins ready for Imola return

John Hopkins has been given the all-clear for this weekend's second round of the World Superbike Championship at Imola.

John Hopkins has been given the all-clear by his hand surgeon in America and will join Crescent Fixi Suzuki team-mate Leon Camier for this weekend's second round of the 2012 World Superbike Championship at Imola.

Hopkins, who broke his hand during the team's first test at Phillip Island in Australia last month and missed the season opener, has flown to the UK to join the team and prepare for his 2012 race debut.

"I am so pleased to get the all-clear and cannot wait to get on the bike again," said Hopkins, who has battled hand injuries since August of last season and had part of a finger amputated over the winter.

"I had been given strict instructions not to do any riding this week, which has been a bit frustrating, but I have occupied my time well with physiotherapy, training and numerous spells in the hyperbaric chamber.

"All of this has helped me to recover quickly and I have no doubt that I will be as fit as can be at Imola.

"It's been very busy recently. On Tuesday, I was in the hyperbaric chamber and then drove three hours each way to see my nutrition doctor in Palm Springs. Before that I have really been putting in the hours on my mountain bike and also on the cardio machines in the gym.

"I am really happy with my hand, how well it has been healing; and the range of movement I have got. When I saw the doctor on Wednesday, he told me that the bone was fully healed and everything was OK and I could start riding again.

"I was hoping to get on my dirt bike before leaving for the UK but I have just sold my house and there's loads of stuff to sort out, but I'll try and fit in a ride somehow before Imola.

"I am really looking forward to catching up with everybody at Crescent Fixi Suzuki and getting back to the racetrack. I've missed it, but I feel ready and raring to go."

Team manager Jack Valentine is naturally pleased to have Hopkins back in action.

"Obviously we're all delighted to have John back with us and it gives the whole team a boost," he said. "From what his doctor says, the hand should be more-or-less at full strength.

"I would like John to take the first day or so in Imola steadily, build up gradually and get race fit as soon as he can without any stress. I am looking forward to Imola and a positive weekend, with good, solid results."

BSB rider Josh Brookes replaced Hopkins at Phillip Island, where Camier gave Crescent a best finish of twelfth in race two.

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