Road Atlanta Saturday
The AMA Pro American Superbike final was a dramatic affair for John Hopkins and despite some ups and downs, Team M4 Monster Energy Suzuki registered fifth and seventh-place results.
Starting from sixth on the grid, Hopkins was fighting for position when the race was red flagged in the early going. When he returned to the pits, it was discovered that he had a serious tire issue and was forced to fit new rubber, which resulted in him being dropped to the back of the grid for the restart.
Despite the setback Hopkins quickly clawed his way up through the field aboard his GSX-R1000 before arriving in sixth position. With the gap too large to make up any more spots, the former MotoGP frontrunner settled in and accepted the solid result, which was later elevated to fifth when a penalty was assessed to another rider.
After the Superbike race…
John Hopkins says: "It was one of those races. At the first start, I was just starting to get into a little bit of a rhythm when the red flag was thrown. I came into the hot pit and one of the mechanics was rubbing the tire down to get the stones off of it before putting the warmer on it and noticed a massive chunk out of the tire and it was deemed unrideable and I had to start from the back of the grid.
"It was a crazy start. I got around a lot of people fast and once I got past Chris, it was pretty clear in front of me and I knew I wasn’t going to be able to make up the difference to the top guys so I just got into a rhythm.
"In the end fifth is not too bad. It definitely could have been a lot worse, but I want to get out of these fifths and sixths and work my way towards the podium. I’m really looking forward to tomorrow because I’ll get my normal starting position back and we found some things with the bike that should help quite a bit."
Meanwhile, Chris Ulrich claimed his fourth top-ten result of the young season. Battling his way up the order after qualifying in 11th, he powered his way to seventh place, further solidifying his standing among his Superbike peers.
On Sunday Team M4 Monster Energy Suzuki will look to return to the podium at Road Atlanta in the final half of the weekend’s SportBike and Superbike doubleheaders.