John Hopkins. Tommy Hill. Just eight points separate them at the top of the points table going into the final, three round Showdown of the MCE British Superbikes Championship at Brands Hatch this weekend.
They've been the dominant characters in the showdown so far. Hopkins ignoring pain from a finger injury to win three races and finish third in the other. Hill, consistently fast with two seconds and two thirds.
||Samsung Crescent Suzuki
||Relentless by TAS Suzuki
||HM Plant Honda
||HM Plant Honda
Josh Brookes, Shane Byrne and Michael Laverty could still, mathematically, win the title - but they're each over 40 points adrift of the two leaders. It would take a disaster for Hopkins and Hill for any of the three to get back into contention. Kiyonari is the only title fighter already out of this year's showdown.
Tommy Hill, Swan Yamaha, 601 points
On the showdown finale: "I'm in a bit of a different position to last year, when I was leading going into the final round. Last year I was going for it. I was trying to win the title and I crashed. This time I'll take it race by race - but I will be treating it like any other race."
On John Hopkins: "Yeah, he's riding well, but we had a good run at Brands in race three last time. I led all the way and Hopper said it was the hardest he'd ridden all year - and he couldn't beat me - but everyone has upped their game since then."
John Hopkins, Samsung Crescent Suzuki, 609 points
On the showdown finale: "Obviously this is a big weekend. We've done a lot of hard work over the year, particularly in the last six weeks, but it all comes down to one round and three races. I'm going into it as if I had no advantage in the points at all, because an eight point lead is nothing and can be turned over in one race when there's 75 up for grabs."
On Tommy Hill: "The really strong point about that last Brands weekend was following Tommy. He rode a very strong race, but I got a close look at the areas where he was strong, so I know where I need to improve, and where we need to improve the bike too."