Brands Hatch BSB: Hopkins Suzuki Report

British Superbike, Round 1

The opening round of the 2011 British Superbike Championship kicked off over the Easter weekend, with one rider representing the USA.

The American John “Hopper” Hopkins didn’t bring any wins home for Samsung Crescent Suzuki, but managed a fifth-place finish in Race 2.

In Race 1, Hopkins, who finished 10th at Jerez MotoGP while substituting for the injured Alvaro Bautista on the Rizla Suzuki GSV-R, started off in the top six. But while attempting to make a pass for the fifth position on lap 11, Hopkins crashed at Druids.

Hopkins was able to remount the Suzuki GSX-R1000, but finished 17th. Winning Race 1 in the opening round of the 2011 British Superbike Championship was HM Plant Honda’s Shane Byrne. He was followed by Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha) and Tommy Bridewell (Tyco Honda).

Starting again from Row 2 (sixth) in Race 2 at Brands Hatch British Superbike, Hopkins ran a consistently. Halfway through the race, Hopkins took fifth from Stuart Easton (MSS Colchester Kawasaki), and held it to the checkered flag.

Taking the win in Race 2 at Brands Hatch was Race-1 winner Hill. He was joined on the podium by Ryuichi Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda) and Byrne.

John Hopkins (Samsung Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000) says: “Not my greatest day, not my worst. We started the day well; we’d made some changes overnight and that made a difference – third fastest, and my personal best of the weekend, in warm-up.

“I was pleased with my start in the first race; I got through some traffic but then got stuck behind Stuart Easton. When it comes down to tenths-of-a-second between you and then next guy, then passing isn’t easy, and so when I was pushing it into Druids it didn’t take much to run wide, and then go down. I picked it back up but couldn’t get back into the points.

“I didn’t get the best start in race two: In fact I got bumped as I went into turn one and this cost me a few places. Again I found myself coming back though and again finding Stuart Easton mid-race. I took my time second time around and made sure it was a safe pass – I wanted some points from this weekend. After that there was too-big-a-gap to the guys in front and it wasn’t worth risking another fall to try and catch them.”

2011 British Superbike: Brands Hatch Race one result:
1. Shane Byrne (HM Plant Honda)
2. Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha) +1.154s
3. Tommy Bridewell (Tyco Honda) +2.667s
4. Stuart Easton (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) +2.764s
5. Jon Kirkham (Samsung Crescent Racing) +3.408s
6. Michael Rutter (Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati) +4.310s
7. Loris Baz (Motorpoint Yamaha) +4.496s
8. Dan Linfoot ( Honda) +5.090s
9. Martin Jessopp (Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati) +5.100s
10. Chris Walker (Pr1mo Racing Kawasaki) +7.728s
17. John Hopkins (Samsung Crescent Racing) +15.965s

Race two result:
1. Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha)
2. Ryuichi Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda) +0.142s
3. Shane Byrne (HM Plant Honda) +0.598s
4. Michael Laverty (Swan Yamaha) +4.463s
5. John Hopkins (Samsung Crescent Racing) +10.089s
6. Stuart Easton (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) +11.984s
7. Michael Rutter (Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati) +13.048s
8. Dan Linfoot ( Honda) +13.897s
9. Peter Hickman (Tyco Honda) +18.431s
10. Gary Mason (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) +18.473s

Photos 2-4 from an earlier test sessions