British Superbike Championship – Round 1, Brands Hatch [Qualifying]
Former Suzuki GP star John Hopkins will start from the front row of the grid in tomorrow’s opening British Superbike race of the 2014 season. The American posted the third fastest time in the third and final qualifying session with new team Tyco Suzuki in treacherous conditions earlier today.
His Australian team-mate Josh Waters – also making his Tyco Suzuki debut – will open his account with the Northern Ireland team from row five in fourteenth place, right beside Shane Byrne who finished runner up in last season’s championship.
“There was lot of standing water out there today. I hadn’t ridden in the rain for a long, long time. The Tyco Suzuki was working perfectly in the conditions, just like it did at the end of last season when the team won three races. The boys did a great job today with set-up for me. My aim is to take it step by step, but we had a little crash at the end there, although we are looking all right for tomorrow. I just want to be in the top five and battling with those guys to start the season off, but overall I’m very happy so far.”
“I’m a bit disappointed to miss out on Q3 today but we’ve made progress and I’m starting to find my feet back on the GSX-R, but the guys did a great job. Row five is not ideal for race one but I’m right beside Shakey, so I’ll let him bang open the gap and I’ll follow him through.”
Team Manager – Philip Neill:
“All things considered, today was pretty positive especially as it’s the first time John has ridden our bike or any other machine in the wet in over two years. He did an exceptional job in what were extremely difficult conditions. In my opinion it certainly shows the class of the man. Josh was also working his way up the field in the various sessions as we tried to find a comfortable setting for him. Unfortunately a change of tyre for Q2 didn’t quite provide the grip we had hoped for and he just missed out on Q3. We came out of the day relatively unscathed unlike some of the other teams and riders.”