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Hopkins: I won’t crack under pressure at Brands Hatch finale

Thursday, September 29 2011

Samsung Crescent Racing Suzuki's John Hopkins believes that despite an eight point lead in the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship standings he will approach the triple-header season finale like he is behind his rivals on points and won't crack under the pressure as he bids to become the first American BSB champion.

Hopkins has won three of the four Showdown races and finished third in the other despite his finger injury, which the American believes will be improved by next weekend's title decider at Brands Hatch. The Samsung Crescent Racing Suzuki rider claimed a second, third and fourth place on the Grand Prix circuit back in August but is certain that they can improve to rival Shane 'Shakey' Byrne, Tommy Hill and Josh Brookes' winning form on the 2.3-mile Kent circuit. Hopkins is also defiant that when the pressure is on him he can step up to the challenge and claims that next weekend will be no different as he targets the first title for the Crescent Racing team since John Reynolds in 2004.

Hopkins said: "I can't wait until next weekend; it can't come soon enough for me. I am definitely stronger now than I was on the Grand Prix circuit back in August as I have done more laps of the track and have more knowledge and data to work with. Although I am going into this round acting like I have no points lead at all; in fact I am going into the round as if I am eight points behind Tommy as it can so easily turn around. At the Brands Hatch round earlier in the year we had a few issues and it was a tough weekend and I think that stopped us reaching our full potential. I always go stronger when we visit the tracks again for the second time and I know where my weak points are so that we can improve and I am confident we can achieve that before the races.

"I can't say that having the championship lead gives me a mental advantage ahead of the weekend as the points gap is minimal. To be honest the top guys in the title fight are all pretty equal and we all need to win regardless of where we are in the standings if we want to be champion. Myself and Tommy are obviously close, but there are three races and like I said things can turn around. In the past I have handled pressure quite well. From watching the previous season I think I will be able to handle it better than Tommy did last year. When the pressure has been on previously in my career I have been able to perform. In 2007 it was a battle for fourth in MotoGP and we battled and I came out on top. There have been some similar scenarios during my career and it hasn't been a problem. I know I need to win and beat Tommy, but we will all be going for it. To win the BSB title would mean everything to me."