Now this is an interesting story, not because John Hopkins was not expected to go to World Superbikes with Crescent Suzuki but because of the number 21 that he will be using in the series. Let us update you with a bit of history. The number 21 has been used by World Superbikes most successful rider arguably, Troy Bayliss. When Troy Bayliss went to MotoGP as a full time rider with Honda, John Hopkins was already there riding for team WCM Yamaha and was using the number 21. He refused to give it up and that meant that Bayliss used the number 12 both on the Honda and later on the Ducati in MotoGP. John Hopkins kept the number 21 when he switched to the Suzuki and Kawasaki teams in MotoGP and was out of MotoGP due to Kawasaki pulling the plug without warning in 2008. Since then, Hopkins has been in the wilderness and has tried riding in various motorcycle racing series including the AMA. He has suffered injuries both physical and mental and only this year was he nurtured back to proper racing by Paul Denning the Manager of the now defunct Suzuki MotoGP team, in the British Superbike Series where Denning’s outfit Crescent represented Suzuki. Hopkins was hoping to get a ride with Suzuki again in MotoGP for 2012, after he was chosen to be a wild car rider for the Suzuki team in 3 GPs but could really ride only in one, being sidelined in the other two with injuries. Suzuki’s withdrawal from MotoGP has poured water on Hopkins’ hopes of a MotoGP ride and now his mentor Paul Denning who has moved to World Superbikes with his Crescent outfit as a privateer Suzuki team has signed John Hopkins to partner Leon Camier who lost his ride at the Aprilia factory team. Camier is an ex British Superbikes Champion while Hopkins almost clinched the title this year but could not due to injury. Hopkins will use the number 21 but Troy Bayliss is not too happy about it because of their history with that number in MotoGP. In a combative post, Bayliss has challenged the idea of Hopkins using the number 21, saying that it should have been retired as an honour to him (Troy Bayliss that is) just as the number 65 has been retired in MotoGP after the retirement of Loris Capirossi who used that number. Hopkins is undoubtedly a great talent but cursed with really wretched luck. Let us hope that something good happens to him from now on.