John Hopkins and the Samsung Crescent Suzuki team gave an excellent account of themselves as the BSB squad went toe-to-toe with the big names of World Superbikes.
The American stunned everyone by topping the Superpole session and subsequently fighting with the leaders in race one. But any hopes of a podium ended when his rear brake delaminated, dropping him to an eventual fifth.
With the problem fixed for race two, Hopkins battled it out with Sylvain Guintoli and Leon Haslam before finishing in seventh place and was proud of the way the team acquitted themselves on the world stage.
“Boy that was a lot of fun. The first race was a bit of a disappointment with the rear brake pad issues, but I managed to alter my corner entry and keep my focus to bag that fifth place. Race two felt better, but to keep with those factory bikes you really need to make up time on the brakes and on the gas out of the turns. I knew that would kill my tyre, so it was no surprise in the closing stages of race two when we started losing the times.”
“Overall, I’m really pumped about this weekend. It’s been huge fun and we’ve showed the world what the Samsung Crescent Suzuki team are really capable of. I’ve bagged my first ever World SBK pole position, mixed it up at the sharp end and enjoyed the racing immensely. A huge thanks to the whole team.”
Teammate Jon Kirkham had a tough baptism in World Superbikes and was forced to start at the back of the grid after a difficult qualifying session. The Derby man recovered to score points in both races and revealed that a change of approach signalled the improvement.
“Not quite what I hoped for this weekend, but a pair of points finishes in World SBK is definitely something to be pleased with and you still can’t beat the feeling of dicing with your heroes like Troy Corser. Crucially we were a day behind really. After my struggles in practice and qualifying and an attempt to alter my riding style a little after seeing Hopper’s times, I just reverted to my old self today and started to go much better. Anyway, the bonus to take away from this is that we’ve now got a lot of data for the Silverstone BSB round and I can go to Brands Hatch next weekend with plenty of confidence.”
All in all, it was a memorable weekend for the BSB outfit and Team Manager Jack Valentine was proud of everyone involved.
“What a weekend. First we’re fastest in practice, then on pole position and then dicing for the lead, before rounding the weekend off with two great results and both riders in the points. This was always going to be a challenge, but thanks to the support from all of our sponsors, including Samsung and Fixi we were able to show the world what we’re capable of and leave Silverstone with our heads held high.”
“Hopper rode two great races, JK demonstrated his ability to bounce back despite set-backs and crucially, we leave here with a great deal of data for the BSB round later in the year. Now we head to Brands Hatch this weekend coming full of confidence. A great team effort and a huge thanks to the entire team.”