Team M4 Monster Energy Suzuki’s John Hopkins registered an impressive performance on the opening day of competition at Auto Club Speedway on Friday, securing a spot on the provisional front row in a hotly competitive AMA Pro American Superbike qualifying session.
Putting his Daytona Superbike frustrations behind him, the former MotoGP superstar and his crew worked together to make marked improvements on his Suzuki GSX-R1000 following the opening free session which enabled him to rank up near the top of the charts during the first of two weekend qualifying sessions.
Hopkins, the Californian, posted a fast lap of 1:24.190 during SBK qualifying, placing him fourth in the session and just 0.208 seconds off of the Superbike provisional pole.
"Today wasn’t too bad at all — we had a good run. We changed a lot of set-up from practice to qualifying and we actually hit it right on the dot. The bike I went out with on the last time, I don’t think we’re going to change anything going into tomorrow. I felt really confident on it."
"I went out, put in the fast time, and then I actually did what I hate people to do, which is be a leach. I followed a few people because the bike was great and I just wanted to see where I needed to improve. I followed some guys to get an idea of where I could make up some time.
"I think we’ve got a good baseline going into tomorrow and I’d say we’re in pretty good shape for sure."
AMA Pro American SuperBike: 1. Aaron Yates (Suzuki GSX-R1000), 1:23.982; 2. Tommy Hayden (Suzuki GSX-R1000), 1:24.133; 3. Larry Pegram (Ducati 1098R), 1:24.150; 4. John Hopkins (Suzuki GSX-R1000), 1:24.190; 5. Blake Young (Suzuki GSX-1000R), 1:24.227; 6. Josh Hayes (Yamaha YZF-R1), 1:24.360; 7. Jake Holden (Honda CBR1000RR), 1:24.392; 8. Ben Bostrom (Yamaha YZF-R1), 1:24.791; 9. Jake Zemke (Suzuki GSX-R1000), 1:25.228; 10. Chris Ulrich (Suzuki GSX-R1000), 1:25.270.