John Hopkins (21) took a double victory in the first round of the season-ending BSB Showdown at Donington Park.
has taken over the British Superbike points lead with a double victory at Donington Park. Starting from pole position the Samsung Crescent Suzuki rider nabbed the double in his first on-track action since injuring his right hand at the Czech Grand Prix. Hopper's double victory performance is the first for an American in the BSB series, having already made history as the first Yankee to win a BSB race earlier in the year.
“This is a very special double-win for me,” said Hopkins in Crescent Suzuki press release. “It's good to come back from injury and to immediately win and to take over the Championship lead. But as well, this is a day of remembrance back at home for the victims of 9/11, so I'm thinking of those people and their families. This is my tribute to them.”
Hopkins injured his hand during a rainy free practice session at Brno as a wild card entry for his former Rizla Suzuki squad. He returned to the United States for surgery to repair fractures in his index and middle fingers. Hopkins sat out the preceding BSB round at Cadwell Park while recovering from his injuries.
Hopkins could afford to miss Cadwell, having already qualified for BSB’s unique Showdown format. Donington marked the first round of the Showdown, which elevates the top six riders in the championship to 500 points, with bonus points awarded for podium credits.
Hopkins arrived at Donington trailing the title-leading duo of Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha) and Shane Byrne (HM Plant Honda). Hill dropped to second in the points with a 3-2 byline. Byrne managed fourth in Race 1 but placed eighth in Race 2. The second race saw Byrne and fellow Showdown competitor Michael Laverty (Swan Yamaha) collide on the opening lap, the latter rider finishing a disappointing 14th after a second-place finish in Race 1. Hopkins’ teammate, Jon Kirkham, aided Hoppers’ title hopes by poaching valuable points with a 5-3 finish.
At Donington Hopkins (center) was aided by teammate Jon Kirkham (right), who nabbed third in Race 2 . Tommy Hill (left) fell to second in the points with a 3-2 result.
Hopkins now holds a three-point advantage over Hill entering next week’s penultimate Silverstone round. Byrne is 25 points down on the leader.
Following Silverstone on September 25, the Brands Hatch season finale will commence October 9.
2011 British Superbike Showdown Standings:
1. John Hopkins (Suzuki) 568
2. Tommy Hill (Yamaha) 565
3. Shane Byrne (Honda) 543
4. Michael Laverty (Yamaha) 532
5. Josh Brookes (Suzuki) 530
6. Ryuichi Kiyonari (Honda) 518