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Hopkins set to join Kawasaki
Chris Vermeulen has lost his team-mate at Rizla Suzuki as John Hopkins prepares for a move to Kawasaki for 2008.

Although there has been no official statement as yet from Kawasaki, it seems likely that American rider Hopkins, who has been at the centre of much speculation regarding his future for the next MotoGP season, will announce that he is switching from Suzuki to Kawasaki for next year.

Rizla Suzuki MotoGP boss Paul Denning has already confirmed that the American will not be racing for his team next time around.

"We have been informed by John's management that he has signed for Kawasaki," Denning told Motor Cycle News.

"We have still got 50 per cent of the 2007 season to go and it's obviously a disappointment from Suzuki's point of view."

"Suzuki had made John a strong and a solid offer and he has chosen to go in a different direction for whatever reasons those maybe. From our point of view that's something we respect and have to go along with."

Kawasaki has been on the hunt for a new frontline rider for the last few months since Frenchman Olivier Jacque was forced to retire from all competition after injuring his neck in a fall during the Catalunya GP in Barcelona.

Kawasaki's temporary replacement has been Australian journeyman Anthony West, who has been given a chance on the 800cc MotoGP bikes after several sterling performances in the European R6 competition.

But West's future at Kawasaki is sure to be in some doubt if Hopkins does switch to the Japanese manufacturer as expected.

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