John Hopkins continued to talk up his championship chances despite losing a potential victory with an accident at Oulton Park on Sunday. Only one race was possible due to the awful weather conditions but the American looked on course to win it after leading from pole position.
“Going into that first race, I was feeling confident”, he explained. “I got off to a decent start and I gave it a lap-or-two to find my feet, during which time Shane Byrne came past. My objective then was to make a clean pass on Byrne and to build a lead. I wanted to make a break and avoid any havoc that might come later in the race.”
But coming into Lodge on lap five, the Crescent Suzuki man lost control on the sodden race track and retired in the gravel trap, although he revealed he hadn't carried any more speed than normal into the corner.
“I was doing nothing adventurous when I slid off at Lodge Corner. Our data-logging showed I was 3km/h slower than my previous entry speed and I was in fact braking lighter, but the front just went away. Sometimes in racing that’s just the way it goes…”
“My only regret is that we didn’t have that second race so I could make amends. But I agree with the decision to abandon. I’ve still plenty of positives to take away from the weekend and I’m very happy with how my bike and the team are performing. We’re still in a very strong position in this championship.”
Samsung Crescent Suzuki team manager Jack Valentine felt that accidents were inevitable in such conditions and added that Hopkins' practice pace gives them confidence for the second half of the season.
“A dismal day. The rain and winds robbed us of what could have been a spectacular day’s racing. Nonetheless, Hopper showed us his true potential this weekend, topping every practice, qualifying; then leading the race. He’s shown he means business and is a serious contender for the Championship. He was extremely unlucky to crash; he was doing nothing wrong as all of our data showed us it was situation normal in the cockpit. Hopper was just victim to the variability in the conditions.”