News 5 Sep 2015

Hopkins leads the way on Friday at Oulton Park

Brookes shines again with the second quickest lap.

Source: Supplied.

Source: Supplied.

American John Hopkins upstaged the title-chasing pair of Josh Brookes and Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne in the dying moments of free practice two, topping the times ahead of the triple-header ninth round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship at Oulton Park.

The former MotoGP and MCE BSB runner-up stormed to his fastest lap of the day on the Lloyds British Moto Rapido Ducati to close in on the lap record time ahead of the opening race which takes place at the Cheshire circuit following Datatag Qualifying Saturday.

Hopkins, who claimed his first ever victory in the series at the circuit back in 2011, is poised for more of the same and that could spell problems for both Brookes and Byrne who are aiming for the maximum Podium Points haul ahead of the Showdown opener at Assen.

This round is crucial to the championship aspirations of the chasing pack who are all aiming to join Brookes and Byrne as Title Fighters in the final Showdown. Outsider Luke Mossey on the Quattro Plant Kawasaki set the sixth best time, just adrift of Danny Buchan and Christian Iddon.

The Tyco BMW pairing of Michael Laverty and Tommy Bridewell, who both currently hold places in the top six, were seventh and eighth respectively on combined free practice times and will be pushing to close the deficit ahead of Datatag Qualifying and the first race tomorrow.

Today’s sessions marked the comeback of both Stuart Easton and James Ellison who both return from injury. PBM Kawasaki’s Easton currently holds fifth place in the overall standings and just six weeks after his Brands Hatch injury valiantly set the 12th fastest time, just 0.009s separating him from the JG Speedfit Kawasaki rider who also is battling for a Showdown spot.

It was a disastrous opening day for the Honda Racing team as Dan Linfoot bids to make the cut for the Showdown; he currently holds seventh place in the overall standings but could only set the 20th fastest time.

Of the remaining Australians, Billy McConnell (Smiths Racing BMW) was 16th, one position ahead of Josh Waters (Bennetts Suzuki) in 17th and Jed Metcher (Gearlink Kawasaki) 30th in his first appearance on the new team.

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