News 16 Jul 2011

Hopkins on top again during BSB practice at Oulton, Brookes fifth

American John Hopkins was fastest on Friday during practice two at Oulton Park.

American John Hopkins was fastest on Friday during practice two at Oulton Park.

Samsung Crescent Racing Suzuki’s John Hopkins threw down the gauntlet to his title rivals after the opening day of British Superbike action at Oulton Park as he topped the second free practice session this afternoon as the American again edged ahead of Swan Yamaha’s Tommy Hill.

Hopkins had led the way in the opening session and this afternoon as the lap times again began to tumble he maintained his position at the top of the time sheets. Hill had started the session as one of the fastest riders on circuit before Hopkins went fastest in the opening 10 minutes.

Hopkins continued to hold the advantage and was increasing his pace throughout before Hill retook the advantage in the final ten minutes to put the Swan Yamaha fastest.

It wasn’t long before the American retaliated and with just under five minutes remaining Hopkins went fastest, improving on his very final lap of the session to remain 0.322s clear of Hill.

“I am happy with how the weekend has started; this was the circuit I took my first BSB win so I was always looking forward to coming back here,” Hopkins said.

“We had a good setting from earlier in the year and we have gone faster today so I am pretty happy with that. We still have more to work on but it was a great way to start the weekend here.”

Gary Mason and MSS Colchester Kawasaki ended the session third fastest as he continued to close in on his Suzuki and Yamaha rivals – he had been running second at the halfway point of the session before the improvement from Hill saw him drop back to third.

Michael Laverty meanwhile had a steady start to his session and he was soon working his way up the order to run fourth, dropping Josh Brookes back to fifth after a strong start to the second session.

Championship leader Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne was sixth fastest whilst teammate Ryuichi Kiyonari was ninth as the pair continued to work on various changes to the HM Plant Honda ahead of tomorrow’s qualifying session.

Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati’s Michael Rutter separated and Honda’s James Ellison separated the pair as they remained inside the top 10.

The Buildbase BMW of Ian Lowry rounded out the top 10 as South Australian Glen Richards again led the BSB Evo riders.

The Supersport class saw Aussie Billy McConnell second fastest, while Triumph teammate Paul Young was a solid third on Friday.