Former MotoGP star John Hopkins turned heads as he made his return to the MotoRapido Ducati team as testing for the 2017 MCE British Superbike season got underway last week.
Hopkins’ quickest time of 1’32.9 saw him set the third fastest time of the test and remind people he’s still got the pace that saw him fight tooth and nail for the 2011 MCE British Superbike title.
“I’m feeling really good,” he told MCN. “I felt at home on the bike from the get go. It seems to really suit my riding style, I like getting it into corners as hard as I can, braking late and getting it turned in, picked up and on the gas. I can’t say Cartagena is my favourite circuit but this is easily the quickest I’ve ever gone here and we’re able to do it consistently too.”
While he says he could have gone quicker on his fastest lap had he not missed a gear, the American was most impressed by the Ducati’s ability to conserve the rear tyre even at an abrasive circuit like Cartagena.
“We’re doing a lot of work on used tyres and that seems to be the biggest benefit of the bike. It can do consistently quick lap times when the tyres are old and not just when they’re brand new. In fact, the Ducati likes to be ridden smoothly so it almost seems harder to go out and do a flying lap on new tyres as when you try to over-ride it that’s when you start making little mistakes.”
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