Samsung Crescent Racing Suzuki demonstrated its world-class pedigree today at round nine of the World Superbike Championship at Silverstone in the UK as ‘Wild-Card’ John Hopkins blitzed WSBK regulars to win Superpole with a new lap record of 2.04.041.
Starting first practice fastest, Suzuki GSX-R1000-mounted Hopkins and the team decided to play it safe in the subsequent practice sessions, but by qualifying made it count to take top spot, beating Irishman Eugene Laverty and Britain’s Leon Camier to pole position in the process.
“The Samsung Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000 felt real good from the off and after setting the fastest time in FP1 we started to believe that we could do something special here this weekend. As we’re running just the one bike, I settled a little to make sure nothing silly happened and then pulled the pin in Q2 and just got my head down in that and Superpole. The bike feels great and I can’t thank the team enough for giving me the package to do this on: Let’s just hope we can turn this into something even more special come tomorrow.”
In contrast to the Hopkins’ euphoria, on the other side of the garage, team mate Jon Kirkham has struggled to find his pace and will begin tomorrow from the back of the grid.
“I’m just struggling to find my confidence and rhythm here this weekend. With Hopper going so well I know I can go faster, and in the second practice session it started to go the right way, but after that, just no more improvement. The races will be a different story altogether though and if I can find some rhythm I’m sure I can bag a decent result or two.”
Team Manager – Jack Valentine:
“What a result. We turned up here without any real data as Hopper’s only completed around 25 laps here in testing before, so to end FP1 quickest, we had a little smile and hoped this could be the start of something special. In truth, we turned the wick down a little after Qualifying 2 for damage limitation with just the one bike and then went all guns blazing for Superpole. It’s a great result and tomorrow’s another day, but let’s just say that for now; we’re feeling optimistic. A big thank you to the whole team.”
1 John Hopkins (USA) Suzuki 2m04.041s
2 Eugene Laverty (IRL) 2m04.068s
3 Leon Camier (GBR) 2m04.303s
4 Carlos Checa (ESP) 2m04.362s