The Samsung Crescent Suzuki team celebrated a fantastic weekend at Donington Park as the Title Battle swung the way of John Hopkins. The American beat the Swan Yamahas to victory in both races to take a three point lead in the Showdown standings with his success made all the more special given the emotional events taking place in the United States.
“This is a very special double-win for me. It’s good to come back from injury and to immediately win and to take over the Championship lead. But as well, this is a day of remembrance back at home for the victims of 9/11, so I’m thinking of those people and their families. This is my tribute to them.
“We enjoyed some great racing today. I was careful to conserve my tyres in the first race and I let the opportunities come to me. Tommy Hill’s mistake when passing Shane Byrne played to my advantage and then it was just a matter of planning and waiting for the chance to pass Michael Laverty and that came four laps from home. I had plenty of pace left in the bike and in the tyres to take it from there.
“The second race was actually harder: I got most of the racing done early. I was in the lead by the fourth lap, but the lack of distractions meant the pain in my fingers was very obvious. The bike was awesome though and from half-distance I was able to pull four-tenths a lap on Tommy and once we got to a two-second buffer, I just controlled it from there.”
Outside of the showdown, Jon Kirkham took the lead in the BSB Riders Cup as he looks to secure the position of best of the rest behind the top six. After finishing fifth in race one, the local favourite made it onto the podium in race two, beating four of Hopkins' title rivals in the process.
“I’m really pleased. I was looking for two top-fives this weekend, so a fifth and a third is more than job-done. I got caught behind Ryuichi Kiyonari early in the first race and this let the leaders get away; it was only a matter of a couple of seconds, but it’s so hard to pull that back given the pace at the front.
“The second race was brilliant fun. I could see from my pit board that I was being chased hard and when Kiyo slowed I had to pass quickly and make something of a break if it wasn’t going to get messy. I got my head down and from there to the end of the race I wouldn’t let my speed drop. So the gap grew quite comfortably and I was surprised at the end to see Tommy’s bike coming into view. To share the podium with John today was fantastic.”
BSB Championship Showdown (After Round 10: Donington Park)
|1||John Hopkins||USA||Suzuki||Samsung Crescent Racing||4||568|
|2||Tommy Hill||GBR||Yamaha||Swan Yamaha||7||565|
|3||Shane Byrne||GBR||Honda||HM Plant Honda||4||543|
|4||Michael Laverty||GBR||Yamaha||Swan Yamaha||2||532|
|5||Josh Brookes||AUS||Suzuki||Relentless Suzuki by TAS||1||530|
|6||Ryuichi Kiyonari||JAP||Honda||HM Plant Honda||2||518|
Photo Credit: Suzuki Racing