News 3 Jul 2011

Hopkins on Snetterton 300 BSB pole, Brookes takes front row

American John Hopkins took his maiden British Superbike pole position at Snetterton.

American John Hopkins took his maiden British Superbike pole position at Snetterton.

Samsung Crescent Racing Suzuki’s John Hopkins took a historic pole position on the new Snetterton 300 ahead of tomorrow’s first MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship races on the circuit that originally started as a US Air Force base.

It will be the first time that an American rider will start from the BSB pole position, as championship leader Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne suffered a disappointing session and will start from sixth.

“I am having so much fun here on the Snetterton 300 and it was an awesome lap in qualifying but that was because the team worked so hard after the problems we had in the session this morning,” Hopkins said.

“We had a problem with the shifter and they put in some hard work and turned it around and we are on pole for the first time.

“I think I am enjoying this circuit more than any other – I am sliding it and drifting the Samsung Crescent Suzuki and it is going to be a good show tomorrow. I think there will be some heavy passes and some close racing but I think the fans are going to love it.”

In the first qualifying session the Samsung Crescent Racing Suzukis led the way in the final stages of Q1 after both Josh Brookes and Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne took a turn at the top in the opening minutes.

John Hopkins then moved ahead and just a few minutes later Jon Kirkham then displaced his team-mate with the fastest lap of the weekend so far in the critical first session.

Ryuichi Kiyonari also moved up the order on the HM Plant Honda after a slow start to the session, he moved sixth ahead of Tommy Hill and Chris Walker.

In the second qualifying session Byrne stormed into the 1:47s lap time for the first time as the HM Plant Honda again improved on the fastest lap of Q1 to move fastest ahead of Hopkins and Brookes.

It was disaster for Michael Laverty on the Swan Yamaha as he got knocked out and will start from twelfth.

Gary Mason also suffered disappointment as he looked set to be inside the top ten with a last lap improvement, but on his teammate Alex Lowes’ final lap he moved inside the top 10 and displaced Mason back to 11th.

In the final session Hopkins sensationally stormed to the pole position to edge out Hill who was unable to close the gap to his title rival whilst Byrne will start from row two after he had the frustration of a problem in the closing minutes.

Jon Kirkham and Josh Brookes both start from the front row for the first time this year.