John Hopkins was born in the United States of America. A fascination for motor bikes developed at an early age and when he was just a toddler, he was participating in MiniBike championships.
‘Hopper’ has always had a penchant for motor bikes and it was no surprise when he decided to take his passion to the next level. In 1986, a three year old Hopper was taking part in MiniBike races and he also won his first race then. After 13 years of racing with smaller versions of motorbikes, John shifted to full time road racing in 1999.
In 2002, Hopkins joined the WCM Red Bull Yamaha team alongside Garry McCoy. A change in regulations that season had seen four-stroke 990cc bikes run against two-stroke 500cc bikes and although the two-strokes had a weight advantage, they were less powerful as compared to the four-strokes. Hopkin’s YZR000 finished fifteenth in the year with 58 points. In his first season, he had put 25 points between him and multiple race winner, and team mate, McCoy. In 2003, John had a chance to view the other side of the spectrum with the 4-stroke bikes. He joined Suzuki and was on the back of the 990cc engine but expectations of results weren’t met. Lack of horsepower and quicker tyre wear-out were deemed to be the main causes. Hopkins was also suspended when found guilty of causing a crash at the Japanese Grand Prix. He ended the season at 17th place with just 29 points. Although not spectacular, he did finish 2 places ahead of his more celebrated teammate