A revised engine and chassis have helped injury-hit John Hopkins make a dramatic return to action in Brno.
After a three-race lay-off with the multiple leg injuries the American suffered in Assen at the end of June, Hopkins shrugged off two crashes yesterday to claim his first front row start for Kawasaki in a rain-lashed qualifying session this afternoon.
Hopkins clocked a best time of 2.12.959 to finish just 0.113s behind second placed Valentino Rossi.
Hopkins told MCN: “I got another new step with the engine on top of what I had last time I rode in Assen and it is much better. I’m seeing light at the end of the tunnel because the new motor has got more mid-range and punch out of the corners, which is where we really needed to make improvements.”
Hopkins, who finished second last year in Brno on board Suzuki’s factory GSV-R, added: “I got a new chassis that not even Olivier (Jacque) had tested and it was a concept they thought might work.
"It is not the finished article but it is a step in the right direction. It just helps me get into the corner a lot better and it feels like it has more flex. The old one just made the bike way too rigid.”