2011 British Superbike
It was all about the American at the Round six of the 2011 British Superbike Championship. Samsung Crescent Suzuki’s John Hopkins first became the first American to ever take a pole position at Snetterton on Saturday.
Then Hopkins took Race 1 Sunday, and followed that result up with a third place in Race 2. With his victory and podium, Hopkins tightened the overall British Superbike Championship points’ race at the halfway-point of the series. Hopkins is now 19 points behind the BSB leader, HM Plant Honda’s Shane Bryne.
In Race 1 at Snetterton, it was a battle between Hopkins and Swan Yamaha’s Tommy Hill on the first four laps. But the safety car was soon out due to a crashes from Hudson Kennaugh and Simon Andrews. When the British Superbike race restarted, Hopkins and Hill were back at it, but the American got the best of Hill, taking him by 0.274 of a second. The final podium position went to Byrne.
In race 2, Hopkins was leading again on lap 8 when the race was red-flagged due to a crash involving Andrews and Steve Brogan; during the British Superbike crash, Andrews broke his leg and Brogan sustained a shoulder injury.
When the ace restarted, it was a Hopkins and Byrne duel for the victory. But the two collided on the final lap, losing some positions. This gave Ryuichi Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda) the victory, with Josh Brookes (Relentless Suzuki) in second. Hopkins would race to third.
Hopkins again made the running on the re-start but soon was under intense pressure from series leading HM Plant Honda rider Byrne and on the final lap as they duelled for supremacy. Byrne had taken the lead but on the final lap they collided as Hopkins tried to regain the position, both losing ground as reigning champion Kiyonari charged through to take the victory from Brookes.
Hopkins was able to rejoin in third from Byrne whose lead in the title stakes over the American has been cut down to 19 points when he finished fourth.
The intervention of the Nissan GTR Safety Car after four laps while marshals dealt with two incidents that saw Hudson Kennaugh and Simon Andrews crash bunched the pack up and when the race resumed Hill grabbed the initiative prompting a terrific duel for supremacy. They traded places twice on the final lap before Hopkins grabbed his second win of the season by just 0.274secs from Hill with Byrne third from Michael Laverty and Ryuichi Kiyonari.
John Hopkins (Samsung Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000) says: "To win for the first time here on this new circuit feels great. I am having so much fun out there. I knew I had the pace and that was a great race for me. The bike has been working well all weekend and on this new circuit it is an even playing field for everyone. I enjoy the track sliding around, drifting through corners and having fun.
"I had a really good pace going but then the Safety Car came out and it took the flow out of me and it took time for me to get it back. The tyres were going off a bit towards the end and I felt a bit emotional."
Snetterton British Superbike Results
Snetterton British Superbike Race one, 17 laps:
1.John Hopkins (Samsung Crescent Racing Suzuki) 31m 59.427s
2.Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha) +0.274s
3.Shane Byrne (HM Plant Honda) +2.966s
4.Michael Laverty (Swan Yamaha) +3.638s
5.Ryuichi Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda) +4.199s
6.Jon Kirkham (Samsung Crescent Racing Suzuki) +5.505s
Snetterton British Superbike Race two, 9 laps (restart):
1.Ryuichi Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda) 16m 24.190s
2.Josh Brookes (Relentless Suzuki) +0.810s
3.John Hopkins (Samsung Crescent Racing Suzuki) +1.518s
4.Shane Byrne (HM Plant Honda) +3.550s
5.Michael Laverty (Swan Yamaha) +4.189s
6.Martin Jessopp (Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati) +9.648s
2011 British Superbike Championship standings (after six of 12 rounds):
1.Shane Byrne (HM Plant Honda) 201
2.John Hopkins (Samsung Crescent Racing Suzuki) 182
3.Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha) 140
4.Ryuichi Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda) 120
5.Michael Laverty (Swan Yamaha) 119
6.Josh Brookes (Relentless Suzuki by TAS) 91