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Looking forward to Assen…

Since my last blog, we’ve been working really hard with Hopper’s return to racing at Imola. The Italian event turned out be a difficult and disappointing weekend for us but we took lots of positives away in terms of development too.

Since losing his finger, Hopper has had to get used to a new style of riding using different muscles in his hand and, before Imola, he hadn’t ridden a bike for over 5 months. It meant he couldn’t handle the bike that well at Imola and had to withdraw from the second race, so he’s focused on increasing his fitness. He’s gone back to America for a few days rest and then some intensive training to get him back up to speed. He’s been doing a lot of MotoCrossing too, so I’m hopeful that we’ll have a 95% Hopper for Assen, which is a less demanding circuit than Imola.

The positives we took from the weekend came from Leon putting in laps that were better than the lap record from last year, which gave the team a real boost and showed we’re moving in the right direction. My happiness was short lived though, since I ended up having a very expensive trip back up north on my return from Imola. In my shattered state, I managed to fill up my diesel car with petrol and, following a stop off at McDonalds, she wasn’t going anywhere so the RAC had to come to my rescue!

I’m looking forward to Assen now, where I’m hoping we get the best result of the season, weather permitting! We’ve made real progress with Leon and have been working hard to push for the next level. Both riders will be using different spec engines at the Netherlands race, where I definitely believe we can show what we’re capable of on an even playing field. We’re working in a positive direction and I have high hopes for getting Suzuki back up at the front again. It’s tough but we’ve got to keep pushing as hard as we can…that’s all we can do!

As you can tell, I’ve been flat out making preparations and working behind the scenes on the brand new team, getting spares together and other important stuff, so I’m hoping to squeeze a short break in after Assen. Looking forward, May and June are set to be extremely busy; from Monza we’re going straight to Donington, and then on to America. After that, we won’t see the bikes again until Misano and then it’s straight into the Aragon tests and race! There’s loads of prep to do for all this, so a short skiing break after Assen will get me refreshed and ready for it all. I love skiing and I’ve been too busy to go away so far this year. There’s been lots of snowfall over the Alps and I could do with a break before Monza.

I have managed to find a bit of time to do something I enjoy and I’ve made it down to a couple of Speedway meetings, now that the season has started again. I really enjoy Speedway, it chills me out and it’s something different, plus it’s good to catch up with other fans as well, such as John McGuinness who I know well.