Saturday, July 2, 2011

Snetterton BSB: Hopkins blitzes first practice

Hopkins is benefitting from his testing periods at Snetterton

By David Miller at Snetterton
Image by Paul Sturman

Samsung Suzuki’s John Hopkins has blitzed the British Superbike field at Snetterton this morning, going more than half a second faster than James Westmoreland in the opening free practice session with Jon Kirkham in third and Tommy Hill fourth.

Before Westmoreland put in his fast last lap, Hopkins was more than a second quicker than anyone else and was still the only rider to lap under the 1’50s mark. The American went round in 1.49.434 compared to Westmoreland’s 1’50.046 while Kirkham, who suffered a breakdown, was another six tenths in arrears.

Swan Yamaha’s Hill, who hadn’t turned a wheel at the track until he did some pillion rides this morning, was only 0.003s slower than the Suzuki man while Shane Byrne set the fiurth fastest time but is 1.2s off the pace. Michael Laverty’s last lap put him into sixth with Alex Lowes, on the MSS Kawasaki, in seventh.

Relentless Suzuki’s Josh Brookes slipped to eighth in the final minutes with Gary Mason ninth and Peter Hickman rounding out the top ten. Chris Walker is 11th, Loris Baz 12th, Ryuichi Kiyonari, who also had a technical problem, is 13th, Michael Rutter 14th and Scott Smart, on the Evo-spec Moto Rapido Ducati is 15th.

WFR Honda’s Glen Richards is second Evo rider in 16th with Jake Zemke third in 19th overall.

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