News 31 Mar 2009

HOPKINS COMPLETES OPENING WSBK TEST

Stiggy Racing Honda press release:

John Hopkins finished his first test onboard the Stiggy Racing Honda Superbike at the Almeria track in southern Spain today before he will make his World Superbike Championship debut in Valencia this weekend.

After being released from his former Kawasaki contract only a fortnight ago, Hopkins

took to the track for the first time in four months and mainly focused on adapting to the Stiggy Racing Honda CBR1000RR and the way his new team works.

His first appearance on the machine clearly indicated his potential and eagerness to compete with the front runners in the competitive Superbike series.

The new high profile entry to the World Superbike Championship was earlier described as ‘a dream come true’ by Stiggy Team Manager Johan Stigefelt and welcomed as an exciting partner by team-mate Leon Haslam. In the hands of Haslam the Stiggy Racing Superbike has already shown great potential and a challenger for the podium.

John Hopkins;

“I am really happy with the testing we have done in Almeria. The first impression of the bike and my new team is really good. There’s a very good professional atmosphere and everyone is very dedicated and motivated.

Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate much today and we weren’t able to string as many laps together as we would have liked to. We started on a dry track, but went fully wet towards the end of the day which enabled me to test a wet set-up as well.

My first impression on the bike is that it really is a lot of fun riding it. After my disappointing season last year, it’s great to get out on track and enjoy riding a bike again. I’ve never been on a Superbike in my life but the size of the motorcycle makes a big difference and suits my style.  It feels good to be able to move around on the bike again and feel it spinning coming out of the corners. It’s a lot of fun and my confidence has been growing with every lap.

There’s still a lot to learn, it’s my first time on the Superbike, first time on the track in Almeria, which is a bit of an odd track to learn and the first time I am on Pirellis. Hopefully we will be able to get some quality time on a dry track tomorrow morning and put some good lap times together.

I’m looking forward to racing in Valencia this weekend and feel I am coming well prepared, despite not spending a lot of time on- track yet. I know the Valencia track well and should be able to put in a good performance.”

Leon Haslam;

“It has been a good day testing here for me. We have been able to spend some good time on track considering the time we had due to the weather conditions.

I was able to ride nearly a second off the fastest BSB time set here during their test a month ago. I was able to set the time after only 20 laps on the track on old tyres. If we had put a new tyre in I would have been able to bring the time further down.

We got some new parts for the bike today and worked through the whole scheme of everything we wanted to test. We’ve also been able to test a wet set-up for the first time this year. All in all I am really happy with what we achieved here today and leave Almeria with a confident feeling.

Johan Stigefelt, Team Manager;

“Despite cold conditions we have been able to test some new parts today which worked out well and is another big step forward in the development of our Stiggy Racing Honda CBR1000RR.

John has shown to be very easy to work with. He’s very optimistic and professional. He is not rushing anything, but just takes it step by step. Our main goal for him today was learning to adapt to the bike and understand the structure in the team. It shows that he really enjoys being out on the bike again.

We still have to sort some things out, but overall I am happy with another step forward. Unfortunately we do not have too much time in the race weekends to test parts and develop the bike, so I am hoping for some more time on-track tomorrow morning.

I am happy with the first impression John has given the team. We already know Leon is fast on the Stiggy Superbike and to see John step in and show his potential on the bike is just promising.”

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