John Hopkins is refusing to get carried away despite his impressive start to life in the British Superbike Championship.
The American claimed his first win in the series at Oulton Park two weeks ago to move to within 14 points of championship leader Shane Byrne ahead of this weekend's racing at Croft.
But the Samsung Crescent Suzuki rider is keeping his feet on the ground, admitting he will need to get to grips with the North Yorkshire circuit before making any bold predictions.
“Croft will be more of the same for me – more searching for the race lines, more learning about how BSB works, and hopefully more podiums. We came here during pre-season testing so I know something of the track. And I know to respect it. There are some tricky sections – really bumpy – so I’ll not go too fast too soon. It’s going to be a weekend of detailed study.”
While Hopkins took his maiden BSB win, teammate Jon Kirkham set the fastest lap on his way to seventh place. The Derby rider is eighth in the championship but has impressed in the first two rounds with three strong points finishes.
Kirkham will also have updated machinery at his disposal this weekend and is hoping it can move him closer to the leaders.
“I’ve got the latest chassis spec to try this weekend and I’m really looking forward to that. At Oulton I had some grip issues and that made it a struggle to make top-five, but with the new set-up hopefully I’ll make an improvement.”
“I’m finding that the team is very good with new technologies and set-ups. The electronics package is really impressive and making a big difference to my lap times. It comes down to the small details as well, like the thumb brake we first fitted for Oulton Park. I’ve never been a user of the back brake before, but with this device I’m finding it helps get that last little bit of performance.”
Like Hopkins, team manager Jack Valentine has urged caution ahead of this weekend but sees no reason why the team can't aim for another strong result.
“It’s a fresh start this weekend, as always you start again from scratch. Hopper should be refreshed as he’s been home to the States to celebrate his mum’s 60th – he’s probably been skydiving a bit, too! And JK’s all revved up as he’ll have his bike equipped with the same chassis specs as Hopper’s had for the last meeting. So we’ll be looking for more podiums from Hopper and we think JK should find his way to the top-fives he very much deserves. In fact such is JK’s progress we’re sure it won’t be much longer before he too is on to the podium.”