John Hopkins took pole positions for Sunday’s World Superbike races from Silverstone after the Samsung Crescent Suzuki man put in a 2.04.041 in the third round of Superpole.
Hopkins’ time broke last year’s circuit record set by Cal Crutchlow by 0.05 seconds, and it was enough despite a last-minute push from Yamaha’s Eugene Laverty, who finished second just 0.027 seconds behind Hopkins.
Hopkins said: “I’m over the moon. I’m overwhelmed at the moment. It still hasn’t really sunk in that I’m on pole position in a World Superbike wildcard.
“I just gave it everything I absolutely had in that final qualifying with that tyre.”
Laverty said Hopkins deserved the pole because “he put in a hell of a lap”, but is happy with second and thinks he and his R1 have what it takes to run at the front in Sunday’s races.
Laverty said: “The Yamaha was strong here last year with Cal (Crutchlow) so hopefully that’s a good omen for us. The bike works well and I won here last year so it should be a winning combination.”
Alitalia Aprilia’s Leon Camier finished third with a 2.04.303, and said that he’s looking for an improvement before tomorrow’s race if he has a chance of fighting for what he calls a “really, really hard” race.
Camier said: “Everyone seems to be able to do a couple of laps and then sort of drop off a little bit, but I know he’s been consistent.
“I think we need to find a little something more for the race but I think it’s going to be a big fight for the podium and hopefully I can be there to be involved in the fight.”
On the outside of the front row will be Althea Ducati’s Carlos Checa. The Spaniard ended up 0.321 seconds adrift of Hopkins, but says that his pace has been better than expected.
With championship rivals Marco Melandri of Yamaha and Max Biaggi of Alitalia Aprilia in sixth and 11th respectively, Checa said he felt like he was in another series interviewing alongside Hopkins, Laverty, and Camier.
Checa said: “We are quite satisfied compared to last year. So far, we are better than we expected.
“It seems like I am racing another championship with these guys up here. I think it’s quite nice to see young riders and I think they have good talent that they’ve shown in the past. Here, there is something else that has enabled them to be competitive.”
Results of Silverstone World Superbike Superpole
1. John Hopkins (Samsung Crescent Racing) Suzuki GSX-R1000 2'04.041
2. Eugene Laverty (Yamaha World Superbike Team) Yamaha YZF R1 2'04.068
3. Leon Camier (Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 2'04.303
4. Carlos Checa (Althea Racing) Ducati 1098R 2'04.362
5. Sylvain Guintoli (Team Effenbert-Liberty Racing) Ducati 1098R 2'05.456
6. Marco Melandri (Yamaha World Superbike Team) Yamaha YZF R1 2'05.639
7. Michel Fabrizio (Team Suzuki Alstare) Suzuki GSX-R1000 2'05.997
8. Noriyuki Haga (PATA Racing Team Aprilia) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 2'04.627
9. Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) BMW S1000 RR 2'05.091
10. Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team) BMW S1000 RR 2'05.115
11. Max Biaggi (Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 2'05.184
12. Mark Aitchison (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 2'06.238
13. Jakub Smrz (Team Effenbert-Liberty Racing) Ducati 1098R 2'05.400
14. James Toseland (BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team) BMW S1000 RR 2'05.403
15. Maxime Berger (Supersonic Racing Team) Ducati 1098R 2'05.709
16. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team Superbike) Kawasaki ZX-10R 2'06.304
17. Troy Corser (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) BMW S1000 RR 2'06.524
18. Alexander Lowes (Castrol Honda) Honda CBR1000RR 2'06.787
19. Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 2'06.895
20. Roberto Rolfo (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 2'07.482
21. Fabrizio Lai (Castrol Honda) Honda CBR1000RR 2'07.889
22. Jon Kirkham (Samsung Crescent Racing) Suzuki GSX-R1000