BSB Snetterton: Hopkins obliterates field for Snetterton pole

By Austin Lindberg -

British Superbikes

 02 July 2011 18:30

John Hopkins took pole for Snetterton 300 MCE Insurance British Superbike race by more than a half-second.

Hopkins became the first American to take pole in a BSB race and did so after his Samsung Crescent Suzuki team swapped out engines after the final free practice session.

Hopkins said: “We had some nagging problems with the shifter this morning. We couldn’t really find out what was wrong with the bike so the boys ended up changing the entire motor in between sessions, they didn’t go to lunch and busted their butts so this is definitely for them.

"I’m having a lot of fun. I’m sliding it around. I got two-wheel drifts going on. The front wheel’s sliding, the read wheel’s sliding and I’m just enjoying every minute of it."

Swan Yamaha’s Tommy Hill will start Sunday’s race one from second position after gambling on a new setup for the qualifying session despite being fastest in the morning’s free practise session.

Hill said: "We changed the bike drastically for qualifying and it seems to be a step forward. That’s the thing, it’s so competitive out there this year. Everyone’s stepping forward, making improvements and if you’re not then you’re on the back foot."

Jon Kirkham made it two Samsung Crescent Suzukis in the top three when he qualified third. Kirkham had been inconsistent in sessions, but said that he had been caught up in traffic for much of the weekend and was confident he could put in good laps once he found clear track.

Josh Brookes made it three Suzukis on the front row by qualifying his Relentless Suzuki by TAS fourth. Brookes said that a new engine spec the team tested earlier this week has helped him rediscover his form.

Brookes said: "We went testing at Kirkistown up in Northern Ireland on Monday and we worked with the new engine spec and a couple other little setup changes but most importantly the engine. I found something that really works a lot better with me. We need to work on the top speed a little bit more still but getting off the corners seems to be a lot better and I think that’s where we’ve made up the time."

Final Qualifying Results

Q3

1. John Hopkins  Samsung Crescent Suzuki   1.47.451
2. Tommy Hill   Swan Yamaha     1.47.996
3. Jon Kirkham  Samsung Crescent Suzuki   1.48.320
4. Josh Brookes  Relentless Suzuki by TAS   1.48.457
5. Loris Baz   Motorpoint Yamaha    1.48.814
6. Shane Byrne  HM Plant Honda    1.48.928
7. James Westmoreland Motorpoint Yamaha    1.49.023
8. Ryuichi Kiyonari  HM Planet Honda    1.49.156
9. Chris Walker  Pr1mo Kawasaki    1.49.225
10. Alex Lowes  MSS Colchester Kawasaki   1.49.768

Q2

11. Gary Mason  MSS Colchester Kawasaki   1.48.744
12. Michael Laverty  Swan Yamaha     1.48.761
13. Peter Hickman  Tyco Honda     1.48.881
14. Michael Rutter  Rapid Solicitors Bathams Ducati  1.48.931
15. Graeme Gowland  WFR Honda (Evo)    1.49.267
16. Martin Jessopp  Rapid Solicitors Bathams Ducati  1.49.526
17. Dan Linfoot  Sorrymate.com Honda   1.49.593
18. Simon Andrews  Buy-Force.com PR Kawasaki  (Evo)  1.49.763
19. Steve Brogan  Jentin Honda     1.50.129
20. Ian Lowry   Buildbase BMW    1.50.139