Stiggy Racing Honda rider John Hopkins was on fine form in the first day of qualifying for the tenth round of the World Superbike Championship and posted the second fastest time in the opening Free Practice at Brno today.
The American-who missed out 8 races due to an injury-concluded a two-day test with his teammate Leon Haslam at the Czech track two weeks ago and used the collected data to clock the second fastest time of 2’01.399s.
Hopkins took another 0.4s off his earlier result in the first qualifying practice, but crashed out after a tyre change in the ultimate minutes of the session while pushing for his fastest lap.
Haslam struggled to find the right suspension set-up for his machine in the first session, but opened things up in the 60-minute qualifying practice. The Englishman-who claimed a podium in the last event at Donington-closed the first day of qualifying in 18th place.
John Hopkins Speaks… (Position 12th, 2’01.021s)
"In the first session I was struggling a lot with the chattering of the bike. Right at the end we tried something different and then made a big improvement on the set-up and were able to go almost two-seconds quicker as I was able to run it through the corners better and hold the corner speed. We tried a new tyre towards the end of the qualifying session, but as I was trying to set a decent lap time I lost the front in one of the slower corners and had a small crash."
Leon Haslam Speaks (Position 19th, 2’01.403s)
"I made some progress from this morning. I really struggled in the free practice session, we had a problem with one bike and the other bike was not set up the right way for the conditions at this circuit. We made some progress on the set-up and I have been able to ride at a pretty consistent pace, but we still need to find another second tomorrow and improve the lap times."
Johan Stigefelt Speaks… (Team Manager)
"John started off really well today and immediately felt comfortable on the bike. We tried some different settings on both bikes and made progress through both sessions. John had a small crash this afternoon on his fastest lap, but he is very confident on his potential and to further improve tomorrow. Leon is working hard on finding his set-up on this track. We tested here a couple of weeks ago, but we still need to utilise the test settings. We will analyse the data tonight to see where we can make the improvements. It is a suspension problem more than anything else, and we will just have to work out how to solve it."