2011 British Superbike
The British Superbike Championship heads to Thruxton this weekend, with the race occurring on Bank Holiday Monday.
Up top, only three points separate the leader, HM Plant Honda’s Shane Byrne, from the American John Hopkins on the Samsung Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000.
As for Hopkins, who chases his second 2011 British Superbike victory since Oulton Park, the former MotoGP pilot has never raced at Thruxton.
John Hopkins (Samsung Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000 BSB) says: “I have seen a bit of Thruxton with just a few laps in the passenger seat of the car so this is probably going to be my toughest race of the season so far as I don’t really have any track knowledge compared to the other guys.
“I may not know the track but my confidence is growing every weekend and I feel increasingly comfortable on the bike and getting it working how we need to.”
But the opposite is true of Bryne; the Brit has a great track record at Thruxton, including a double win in 2003, the year he won his first British Superbike title (his second BSB title came in 2008).
Shane Byrne (HM Plant Honda CBR10000RR BSB) says: “I really want to maintain that momentum. I am really looking forward to these races and I think the circuit should suit my bike from a performance point of view. Thruxton is all about speed and I think with a few more steps before the race we should be back up the front again and challenging for some more wins.”
Bryne’s British Superbike teammate, though, will be a tough challenge. Ryuichi Kiyonari, who has took three BSB titles, didn’t have luck at the last round at Croft, but will be looking to make up the points he missed.
As for Hopkins’ teammate, Jon Kirkman has much incentive heading into Thruxton Superbike, the Derby rider having powered in maiden race winning glory at the North Yorkshire circuit.
The other big news comes from the mSS Colchester Kawasaki team; Stuart Easton will miss the round as he continues to recover from injuries sustained at the North West 200 race in Ireland this weekend.
Alex Lowes will substitute for Easton, riding next to MSS Colchester Kawasaki rider Gary Mason.
2011 British Superbike Championship Point Standings:
1.Shane Byrne (HM Plant Honda) 95
2.John Hopkins (Samsung Crescent Racing) 92
3. Stuart Easton (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) 89
4.Ryuichi Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda) 59
5.Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha) 57
6.Jon Kirkham (Samsung Crescent Racing) 54