Hopkins on the podium at Brands Hatch GP
John Hopkins enjoyed two visits to the BSB podium today to end the eighth round of the 2011 British Superbikes Championship at the Brands Hatch GP circuit on a high note. Hopkins placed 4-3-2 for the weekend, his Samsung Crescent Racing team-mate Jon Kirkham placed 9-8-10.
For both Hopkins and Kirkham it was a tough first race today having to battle from the third and fourth rows (respectively) at the start. Hopkins was in fine form and despite gear-shift issues was able to fight his way through the traffic to have the leaders in his sights as the chequered flag fell, finishing third. Kirkham as well rode a strong race to come through to eighth, only 17-seconds behind the winner.
Hopkins had a front row start for the final race and capitalised on this to take second position off the start. He held on to the leader, Tommy Hill, for most of the race distance but wasn't able to attack and so settled for second to secure yet more podium credits. Kirkham also made a good start but after getting hemmed in at the first turn found himself in an eight-bike battle for eighth. Putting together strong and consistent lap times he took tenth place at the finish.
John Hopkins: "It all went well today. We had a little issue with shifting gear in that first race and so I couldn't ride as hard as I'd like to have, but I was very happy to pick up that last podium credit. In the second race the bike was perfect and everything was great but Tommy Hill rode really well, I couldn't have ridden any harder, it hurts to be beaten but we did what was needed.
"Importantly I'm now secure in the top six for the Showdown and that's exciting, something I can really look forward to. Going to Cadwell Park I don't need to worry about championship points, and will instead ride for the podium credits – they're most important now. Once again the team proved just how good they were this weekend, sorting the shifter issues between races today, the bike was perfect for that last race. We're looking set for a great time at Cadwell Park."
Jon Kirkham: "Three top-ten finishes from three rides – I should be happy with that after my recent run of luck. I can't be totally happy though. The first race today was hard work, so to come away with a second row start for the last race was a good outcome. But then I got trapped in the pack on turn one and all the good work was undone. I got some decent lap times in but got stuck behind another rider, the result could have been better.
"I know the Title Fighters really is a long shot for me now. 24 points doesn't sound so much but at this level all the riders know how to get results. I've still got the goal to improve my results, though, and I think top-six finishes are achievable – as long as I get my starts sorted! I'm still looking to improve."
Jack Valentine, team manager: 'It's been a tough but successful weekend. We've got a strong set of results. Overall I think Hopper netted the most points of any rider this weekend – again he's been a consistent and strong points scorer, showing the kind of form which is going to be decisive come the Showdown. He's off to Brno now for a little MotoGP action and the whole team are willing him to do well, he's on top form.
"JK had a better weekend. Unfortunately so did the other riders around him who are all vying for that final spot on the Title Fighters list. He's only 24 points off that sixth position and with three races to run at Cadwell Park mathematically he could do it, but I think we'll need quite a few factors to come into play for it to go his way – we have to be realistic. The important thing is JK is showing good form. I can see he's riding with a lot more confidence and building on this weekend top-six finishes at Cadwell Park should be possible."
2011 MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship
Race two result:
Race three result:
2011 MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship standings after Brands Hatch: