John Hopkins and the MotoRapido Ducati team enjoyed a breakthrough weekend at Snetterton with two solid results as Hopkins pushed on to fight with the lead group for a rostrum finish.
Hopkins finished eighth and fifth in Sunday’s two races, but was quick enough to run with the front boys and reckons he only missed out on a rostrum in the second race by riding a little too cautiously towards the end of the race knowing tyre life would be a big factor.
Things got off to a difficult start for the Wilf Moore-ran effort with an engine issue leaving Hopkins to start race one from a lowly 18th place. Despite moving from 18th up to sixth, a rear brake issue would then hamper him in the second half of the race.
“I’ve known we’ve had this pace all along,” Hopkins told MCN. “We’ve had issues with the bike, I’ve had a few crashes and I don’t think we’ve finished two solid races all year long until now. We had a set-back in qualifying with an engine going, but we worked hard on race set-up this weekend knowing tyre life would be a big thing.
“I gave it everything I had in race one and made it forward from a rubbish grid position. I made good progress and could see the front group and thought a podium might be possible at one point but at half distance I lost my rear brake. I’m a rider that uses my rear brake everywhere so it was like having to learn to ride again!
“We had a better chance in race two with an improved starting position. I was happy running with the lead group but I wanted to conserve my tyres too. Shakey and Brookes got away, but I hung with Ellison and he was right in front of me when he crashed. That made me a bit nervous as I was losing the front a lot too, so I lost a bit of pace and O’Halloran came round. Once he’d passed me I was just determined to get it home and perhaps was a bit too cautious into the final turn as Dixon got through too!
“It’s something to build on and there’s more to come. We’ve known we’ve had this pace and it’s nice to finish two solid races. We’ve had our bad luck but hopefully we’re on track now.”
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