Great day for the USA as Hopkins becomes first american BSB Race winner
John ‘Hopper’ Hopkins became the fourth winner in four rounds and the first ever American to win a British Superbike event at Oulton Park today. Hopkins was one of many riders to take advantage of series leader Tommy Hill’s misfortune after he fell injuring his shoulder in ‘warm-up’ after dominating every session of practice.
A clearly elated Hopper said immediately afterwards, “Wow, I haven’t won a race for so long, it’s been like eleven years! The bike was amazing, the feel was perfect and the tyres were ‘all good’ too.”
Hopkins was one of several riders who utilised the new softer Pirelli Diablo Superbike SC1 front tyre along with first race winner and 2010 BSB Champion Ryuichi Kiyonari, HM Plant Honda teammate Shane Byrne and Josh Brookes. Most other runners used the harder SC2 compound.
The story of the weekend throughout practice had been the unbelievable pace of Championship leader Tommy Hill who at one point was a full second ahead of the rest of the field. Hill was chronically unlucky in morning warm-up to crash on oil dropped by another rider’s machine, resulting in Tommy suffering a separated shoulder.
Race one saw a great start from Michael Laverty, taking a lead which he held for nearly two -thirds of the race. Behind him, John ‘Hopper’ Hopkins held off a determined Stuart Easton before taking his first BSB podium. Likewise Easton did well to keep Shane Byrne at bay as he looked for every which way past Easton on his new Kawasaki ZX-10R that had figured prominently throughout every practice session. Meanwhile Kiyonari fought his way through the field to take the lead on lap 11 of 18 and finally pull out a 4 second gap at the flag. Alex Lowes posted an awesome lap to take second position on the grid for the final race with positions based on Race one laptimes.
The second race saw a holeshot from getaway specialist Stuart Easton and a long battle with Josh Brookes on the Relentless by TAS Suzuki until Brookes crashed out of the race on lap nine, almost collecting Easton in the process. A lengthy pace car session allowed Laverty and Hopkins to move in on Easton and a fantastic battle for the lead followed which was eventually resolved in favour of Hopkins.
The fastest lap of Race 1 went to Kiyonari with a 1.36.041 second lap, race two to Jon Kirkham (1.36.049) while Hill set the fastest ever time around Oulton Park with a 1.35.175 in qualifying using a soft Diablo Superbike SC0 rear Pirelli tyre.
With Hill out of the immediate running Byrne now leads the MCE Superbike Championship whilst Stuart Easton holds second, the best series position for Kawasaki for many years.
Jason Griffiths, Pirelli Racing Manager commented, “Four winners from four rounds, amazing weather and fantastic racing, this series goes from strength to strength. Our hearts go out to Tommy Hill and we wish him a speedy recovery, hopefully he’ll be back in action for Croft. Congratulations to John Hopkins in taking a race win on his first visit to this technically demanding circuit. The Diablo Superbike slicks have provided fantastic times in qualifying and close racing in both legs. We look forward to the next round at Croft.”
The new Pirelli World Superbike spec tyres will be available for all competitors and trackday customers in 2011. The new compounds of the Pirelli Diablo Superbike tyres come with SC1 and SC2 front options and SC0 and SC1 rear, with ‘0’ being the softest and ‘2’ the hardest solutions. The tyres are designed for increased durability and continued high grip performance.
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Oulton Park race one result:
1. Ryuichi Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda)
2. John Hopkins (Samsung Crescent Racing) +4.150s
3. Stuart Easton (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) +4.336s
4. Shane Byrne (HM Plant Honda) +4.646s
5. Michael Laverty (Swan Yamaha) +4.684s
6. Josh Brookes (Relentless Suzuki) +5.105s
7. Jon Kirkham (Samsung Crescent Racing) +13.582s
8. Loris Baz (Motorpoint Yamaha) +16.637s
9. Gary Mason (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) +19.108s
10. Dan Linfoot (Sorrymate.com Honda) +19.452s
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Oulton Park, race two result:
1. John Hopkins (Samsung Crescent Racing)
2. Stuart Easton (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) +0.221s
3. Shane Byrne (HM Plant Honda) +0.521s
4. Ryuichi Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda) +0.633s
5. Michael Laverty (Swan Yamaha) +1.026s
6. Michael Rutter (Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati ) +2.930s
7. Jon Kirkham (Samsung Crescent Racing) + 2.949s
8. Peter Hickman (Tyco Honda) +7.183s
9. Loris Baz (Motorpoint Yamaha) +7.326s
10. Gary Mason (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) +7.293s
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship standings after Oulton Park:
1. Shane Byrne (HM Plant Honda) 70
2. Stuart Easton (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) 59
3. Ryuichi Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda) 58
4. John Hopkins (Samsung Crescent Racing) 56
5. Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha) 45
6. Michael Laverty (Swan Yamaha) 35