Monday, July 4, 2011

Snetterton BSB: Hopkins bags first win at new track

Hopkins just edged out Hill in the first race

By David Miller at Snetterton
Image by Paul Sturman

Samsung Suzuki’s John Hopkins grabbed the first British Superbike race win from Tommy Hill on the last lap at Snetterton this afternoon and the Swan Yamaha man was furious with himself as he crossed the line, shaking his head.

Hopkins went underneath Hill on the brakes into Riches for the final time and Hill just didn’t have an answer. The Lingfield man tried to set up a pass into the final turn at Murray’s (Riches) but was too wide and Hopkins had it covered.

HM Plant Honda’s Shane Byrne bagged the final podium spot after challenging for the lead early on but faded towards the end. Michael Laverty, on the second Swan bike, clawed his way through the field to take fourth from his mid-pack grid-slot.

Hopkins converted his pole position to lead into the first corner as the lights went out with Hill, Chris Walker, Jon Kirkham, Shane Byrne and Josh Brookes in close attendance. Walker was soon shuffled back as Alex Lowes pushed through on the MSS Colchester Kawasaki.

With four laps gone, Hopkins had pulled out a one-second lead over Hill while Ryuichi Kiyonari also started to move forwards, passing his 2010 team-mate Brookes for seventh as Michael Laverty also scythed his way through.

On lap five, crashes by Hudson Kennaugh and Tom Tunstall brought out the safety car which was on track until lap eight. As it went in, Hopkins and Hill tried to pull away but Byrne was having none of it, going past the American into the Esses but Hopkins was back past a lap later as Kiyonari took Kirkham for fourth.

Hill and Hopkins managed to gap Byrne who had a lonely ride for third as a mistake by Kiyonari dropped him back behind Laverty. Kirkham fended off Brookes for sixth while Walker took a season-best eighth. Loris Baz and Peter Hickman rounded out the top ten as Lowes slumped to 16th.

Graeme Gowland was the first Evo man home in 15th with Simon Andrews and Glen Richards in second and third. Scott Smart retired out of second with a technical issue.

Click here for results

Grid for race two:

Kiyonari (pole), Hopkins, Hill, Byrne
Kirkham, Michael Laverty, Lowes, Brookes

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