Donington BSB: Hopkins a surprise provisional pole

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John Hopkins has set his 2014 season back on track by setting the fastest time of the opening day of MCE British Superbike action at Donington Park. The American, familiar with the track form his Grand Prix days, finished the day 0.058 ahead of the War for Four duo of Shane Byrne and Ryuichi Kiyonari.
 
Hopkins, who has yet to score a podium finish this year after returning from serious injury and a year out of the sport, admitted after the session that he’s been looking forward to his return to the track for some time.
 
“Not only is it a track I have a lot of experience at but it’s one I enjoy thoroughly too. Most importantly, though, it’s not a track where outright horsepower matters a whole lot – it’s a track where you need a decent chassis and a strong midrange, which the Suzuki definitely has. Donington is all about keeping the flow.”
 
“Although we’ve had a great chassis all year long and we’ve been improving all year long, we’ve been lacking a little bit of power here and there, and it’s just made it difficult. It’s been especially hard racing in a group – you have to set up a pass a corner before, and while you’re doing that someone dives up the inside of you!”
 
With the former championship runner up struggling all year after returning from extensive surgery on a badly damaged hip, finding form at contract renewal time is an important boost for him. With four rounds remaining now, Hopkins could be a fly in the ointment of the Showdown contenders if he can maintain the pace.
 
“I can’t go throughout the season without being on the podium, and I’m hoping we can change things around now. Obviously thechampionship is out of the question now, but I think we can finish the yearstrong and get on the podium a few times now.”

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Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer