Tyco Suzuki’s John Hopkins didn’t have the best weekend at Knockhill and the fourth round of the British Superbike Championship, but is taking positives away with the pace shown during the free practice sessions and the weekend’s second race.
Despite being happy with the pace he found during practice, a difficult qualifying session left Hopkins with all the work to do in race one, but raced to ninth place.
In race two he escaped with the leading group, but a mistake into the final turn saw him run off track. He recovered to 11th place.
He said, “We were making good headway in and around the top five, but we made a horrible qualifying practice. I myself made a mistake not putting a lap together in Q2. It started raining quite heavily on the screen and when the group ahead of me pulled in, I also pulled in.
“I was right on the bubble of qualifying, so could have done with staying out there and putting in a time, as being so far back on the grid at a track like Knockhill, where it’s really difficult to pass, it was always going to make for a difficult race one, and it did.
“I had a horrible start and from then it was just a matter of trying to make-up positions. I was trying to set-up to make a pass on the corner before, which means running it a little bit wide and getting it picked-up early, so I can get a considerable drive on them. Problem was, every time I was trying to set-up the person ahead of me, someone would come shooting up the inside. That means I would lose a position then have to use the rest of the lap to get past them and produce a big enough gap to do the same again.
“In the second race we had a better start and got away with the group. I just made a big mistake on the brakes coming into the last turn. I could see that I was getting in there really, really hot and I ended-up locking the front and smoking off the front tyre. I messed-up the back shift, hit a false neutral and ran off the track, leaving me well behind the group.
“Fortunately I was able to get back by the group that had passed by me but there was miles of track ahead of me to the front guys. We’ve just made it hard work for ourselves at the start of the season, but hopefully we can turn a corner at Brands on the GP circuit.”
Team Manager Philip Neill summed-up the Knockhill event, saying: “Unfortunately we don’t have a lot to say in terms of results; a weekend that promised so much with John’s pace throughout practice did not deliver what I feel we deserved.
“Everyone is working extremely hard and I know the package of the GSX-R and our riders is capable of so much more. Hopefully we can show our full potential very soon, starting at Brands Hatch.”