Suzuki’s Hopkins & Kirkham to British WSBK
2011 World Superbike
Samsung Crescent Racing will add a very welcome sprinkle of local flavor and color when they take their Suzuki GSX-R1000 superbikes back into World Superbike wildcard competition at Silverstone next week.
Both regular riders – John Hopkins and Jon Kirkham – will ride and the whole team is eagerly anticipating its latest global outing. Hopkins will also be competing in MotoGP once again, this time at Brno as a teammate to Rizla Suzuki’s Alvaro Bautista.
Jack Valentine (Samsung Crescene Suzuki Team Manager) says: "We’re really looking forward to it, hopefully we can spring a surprise or two on the regulars. We’ve had good success in the past with wild card rides, too, like Tom Sykes’ podium in 2008; we’re not there just to make up the numbers.
"And we can bet Hopper will be out to make a statement or two! We’re certainly looking to run competitively. Our only disadvantage is that we normally run under British superbike rules, which allows only one bike per rider, not two. That said, we’ve got one of the most professional teams in the sport, they’re able to turn any job around very quickly and very accurately. We should be okay."
The round at Silverstone works for the Samsung Crescent Racing team on many levels, as Valentine explained fully.
Jack Valentine says: "This is a kind of busman’s holiday. Taking a break from racing by going racing. But seriously, taking a one-off ride in the WSB series is a great way for our riders to further develop their bikes and practice some race craft without the pressures of the championship they’re in – and at the same time giving the fans and sponsors an extra run-out.
"This will be valuable track time at Silverstone for Hopper and will be excellent preparation for when we come back for the BSB Showdown round later this year – there’s nothing like racing to get a real grip on how a bike’s performing at a circuit. JK is needing some extra bike time, too. We’ve been working hard to find an optimum set-up for him and the WSB weekend will offer him plenty of good track time to improve his set-up."
Hopkins is no stranger to World Superbike racing, despite his lone season with Stiggy Racing Honda in 2009 being adversely affected by injury, but for Kirkham this will be an all-new experience.