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Hopkins storms to race one victory

Sunday, September 25 2011

Samsung Crescent Racing Suzuki's John Hopkins won the third race of the Showdown at Silverstone as the American fended off the challenges from the Swan Yamaha pairing of Michael Laverty and Tommy Hill to maintain his position at the top of the standings ahead of race two.

Hopkins said: "I knew it wouldn't be an easy race and that I would need to get my head down and try and break away, then in the closing stages I had severe pain in the finger but I wasn't sure how many laps were left so just kept pushing. It has been tough going so far this weekend and I have been a bit of a hermit when I am not on the bike, I am trying to give the hand rehab! I could see the TV screen in the last section of the track so I knew how close they were and I have to thank the team for giving me an awesome bike." 

Even before the start of the race the HM Plant Honda team suffered drama as Ryuichi Kiyonari was moved off the grid as they frantically changed the rear tyre. He then would start from the back row of the grid; however the defending champion formed up in his fourth row position and therefore was giving a ride through penalty. The Title Fighter then had even more of an uphill task on his hands and he could only manage 28th position and in doing so scored no points for his championship defence.

Michael Laverty had taken the hole shot off the line on the Swan Yamaha from Hopkins, Josh Brookes and Tommy Hill. However Jon Kirkham jumped the start on the second of the Samsung Crescent Racing Suzuki and was therefore issued with a ride through penalty that put him out of contention for the top ten.

On the second lap Brookes had dropped back to fifth as Shane 'Shakey' Byrne moved to fourth behind the Swan Yamahas and Hopkins; however the Relentless Suzuki by TAS rider charged back into fourth a lap later to regain the position.

Peter Hickman then was another rider to suffer as he crashed his Tyco Honda out of sixth place as he continued to move up the order with a battle in the second pack of riders.

Hopkins then took the lead on the ninth lap at Stowe with a move down the inside which he had attempted several laps before and once he made it stick he defended hard to stay ahead of Laverty and Hill. Brookes was then closing in and he was shadowing Hill but he couldn't make a move stick on the closing laps.

Byrne was able to maintain fifth place ahead of an impressive finish from Graeme Gowland who powered the Mirror.co.uk BSB WFR Honda to sixth after passing Alex Lowes with three laps remaining. Michael Rutter, Martin Jessopp and Tommy Bridewell completed the top ten after they had fought hard throughout the race, with Dan Linfoot dropping outside the top ten in the closing stages.

MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Silverstone, race one result:

  1. John Hopkins (Samsung Crescent Racing Suzuki)
  2. Michael Laverty (Swan Yamaha) +0.252s
  3. Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha) +0.587s
  4. Josh Brookes (Relentless Suzuki by TAS) +0.897s
  5. Shane Byrne (HM Plant Honda) +1.473s
  6. Graeme Gowland (WFR Honda) +23.767s
  7. Alex Lowes (Motorpoint Yamaha) +24.506s
  8. Michael Rutter (Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati) +26.045s
  9. Martin Jessopp (Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati) +26.921s
  10. Tommy Bridewell (Motorpoint Yamaha) +27.207s

MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship standings after Silverstone race one:

  1. John Hopkins (Samsung Crescent Racing Suzuki) 593
  2. Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha) 581
  3. Shane Byrne (HM Plant Honda) 554
  4. Michael Laverty (Swan Yamaha) 552
  5. Josh Brookes (Relentless Suzuki by TAS) 543
  6. Ryuichi Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda) 518