Liuzzi and Hopkins swap seats

HOPKINS GETS STABILISERS AND LIUZZI LOSES TWO WHEELS SHOCK! Giacomo Agostini, Valentino Rossi, Loris Capirossi... with Scuderia Toro Rosso being an Italian F1 team, that just about exhausts its knowledge of Italian motor cycle ...

HOPKINS GETS STABILISERS AND LIUZZI LOSES TWO WHEELS SHOCK!

Giacomo Agostini, Valentino Rossi, Loris Capirossi... with Scuderia Toro Rosso being an Italian F1 team, that just about exhausts its knowledge of Italian motor cycle racers, but are we about to add the name of grand prix star Tonio Liuzzi to that list? And apart from Phil Hill and Mario Andretti and now Scott Speed, the US of A is not exactly a home to many Formula 1 car racers, but Rizla Suzuki's John Hopkins is going to try a taste of racing with a wheel at each corner.

On the last day of October, Hopkins and Liuzzi will be taking part in a Rizla Suzuki - Scuderia Toro Rosso "Seat Swap" at the Valencia circuit in Spain.

The Italian F1 driver will cock his leg over the saddle of John Hopkins' Rizla Suzuki MotoGP bike just two days after the Anglo-American will have raced it at the same Spanish circuit at the final round of the MotoGP championship. Hopkins, will get the opportunity to sit behind the wheel of the Toro Rosso F1 car, sporting a Rizla-blue fire suit and an Arai car helmet painted in his distinctive Red Bull colours. Liuzzi is having a special set of leathers made for this event, as well as switching to a motorcycle specification crash helmet

Like most Italians, Tonio is mad about bikes, using one to ride round the F1 race tracks prior to race weekends, as well as riding superbikes back in his native Italy, where he regularly heads out on the road on a Suzuki GSX-R750. He has also been know to indulge in the occasional Track Day, but don't tell his team-boss as it is probably strictly forbidden in his contract. You can imagine what the other customers think when Liuzzi, an instantly recognisable figure in his homeland, turns up, pays a few Euros and heads out on the track with all the other amateurs!

But on Tuesday 31st October, Hopkins and Liuzzi are not going to meet one another on the track as, in the name of safety, they are not being allowed out of the pits at the same time! Just think of the Insurance Premiums.

"I'm looking forward to this very much," said Tonio. "Especially as I was supposed to do it earlier, but John had had an accident and it was not possible. I had some preparation riding a 750 Suzuki round Silverstone and riding in Valencia should be very interesting as I will be able to compare my times to what the 'real' racers did on the Sunday before."

"I'm really excited about this," commented Hopkins, "it's the first time I've been given the chance to drive a F1 car properly and the team are telling me to give it a bit of throttle - which makes me excited but a bit nervous too! I think it will be a really interesting day, with Liuzzi on the bike and me in the car, and our respective crews having to work with different guys using their machines. It's going to be an experience of a lifetime and I'm really grateful to Red Bull and Rizla Suzuki for making it happen. I'm really pumped up for it and can't wait for it to happen!"

-credit: toro rosso

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About this article
Series Formula 1 , MotoGP
Drivers Phil Hill , Mario Andretti , Scott Speed , John Hopkins
Teams Toro Rosso