Jon Kirkham was pleased with his overall performance at Cadwell Park despite seeing his championship hopes slip away in the final race of the weekend. The Derby rider entered race three with a mathematical chance of making the Showdown but sixth place wasn't enough to overhaul Ryuichi Kiyonari.
Kirkham was the sole representative for Samsung Crescent Suzuki as John Hopkins recovered from the hand injury sustained while on MotoGP duty. The 26 year old felt he benefitted from the extra support he received as the lone rider in the team.
“I’m very happy after this weekend. Working with the two crew chiefs – Dale and Lez – meant we could really push hard on set-up; it seemed everything we did this weekend just made our Samsung Crescent Racing bike better and better.”
Kirkham took an excellent fourth in race one before maintaining his consistency with two sixth places on Monday, running among the leading riders in both.
“The first race today didn’t go according to plan, though: I got a bad start and got stuck behind another rider for too long and when I did get by it was too late; the leaders had gone. But in the second race I was with the leaders from the start and I stayed with them. But for a couple of mistakes on the last lap I would have been just two-seconds behind at the finish.
“I’m incredibly energised by this weekend; it’s great to back on a footing with the best in the Championship and I can’t wait for the next round at Donington Park, which is as good as my local track. I think we can look to challenge for top-five finishes again.”
Crescent Suzuki will still be represented in the Showdown, with Hopkins having secured his place at Brands Hatch, and along with Kirkham's improvement in form, Team Manager Jack Valentine has plenty to look forward to in the remaining races.
“I’m extremely pleased with JK’s performance. We saw the true potential of JK this weekend; he’s back to where he was earlier this year. He ran a tremendous race in that last one. His confidence is back and he’s showing his ability. There are so many positives to take to Donington Park.
“The Title Fighters was also finalised this weekend. John Hopkins was already fixed into that and we’re looking forward to his return at Donington Park. We were lucky this weekend as we didn’t lose too many podium points to our rivals and for Hopper there’s now only an 11-point difference between him and Tommy Hill, the Championship leader, which isn’t very much at all with all the races that remain. Hopper knows and likes all the tracks that are to come, so we can look forward to a very competitive and exciting end to the season, both with Hopper and JK.”