John Hopkins made a solid start on his return to the British Superbike paddock with Tyco Suzuki, putting the Northern Ireland-based team’s GSX-R1000 on the front row in third position then racing to fifth place in the opening encounter on Bank Holiday Monday.
Hopkins goes into round two at Oulton Park in fortnight’s time holding seventh place in the championship standings. His new team-mate Josh Waters had a tough weekend at Brands taking a solitary point from the opening race at the Kent venue.
In the Supersport class Taylor Mackenzie took eighth place from Monday’s second race after finishing 17th in Sunday’s sprint race.
“It’s no secret that the Brands Indy circuit wouldn’t be one of my favourites on the British calendar, but we can take a lot of positives from the weekend. Qualifying was tough in the wet conditions, but to put the Tyco Suzuki on the front row was pleasing. Fifth place was a solid enough result, but in race two I made a small uncharacteristic mistake and lost a few places that I couldn’t get back. Oulton Park was good to me last time I was here in British Superbike so it’s a circuit I’m looking forward to racing next time out.”
“I’m obviously disappointed with my results this weekend, but along with the boys in the team, we worked hard to find a suitable set-up and did make progress. I just need to dig deep now and move things forward at Oulton.”
Philip Neill – Team Manager:
“After a long winter it’s good to get the season underway, even though the Brands Hatch Indy Circuit is not the ideal place for us. The weekend didn’t quite return what we had hoped for in terms of results, but we have a strong team spirit and we will be back fighting at Oulton Park for round two.
“A front row qualifying position and a strong ride to fifth in race one for Hopper were the highlights from the weekend, and it was also pleasing to see Josh improving his lap-times as we continue to find the optimum set-up for him.
“Supersport is always a difficult race around the Indy Circuit and Taylor’s second race from 17th on the grid to eighth was pleasing. In reality his weekend was made much harder after a bad qualifying position in very difficult conditions on Sunday. It was also great to see all our sponsors again this weekend. Hopefully we can give them more to celebrate in the upcoming races.”
BSB Race 1:
1 Shane Byrne (Kawasaki), 2 Chris Walker (Kawasaki), 3 James Ellison (Kawasaki), 4 Ben Wilson (Kawasaki), 5 John Hopkins (Tyco Suzuki), 6 Stuart Easton (Kawasaki), 7 Tommy Bridewell (Yamaha), 8 Richard Cooper (Kawasaki), 9 Jakub Smrz (Ducati), 10 James Westmoreland (BMW). 15 Josh Waters (Tyco Suzuki).
BSB Race 2:
1 Byrne, 2 Josh Brookes (Yamaha), 3 Ellison, 4 Ryuichi Kiyonari (BMW), 5 Walker, 6 Easton, 7 Westmoreland, 8 Dan Linfoot (Kawasaki), 9 Bridewell, 10 Wilson. 12 John Hopkins (Tyco Suzuki). 16 Josh Waters (Tyco Suzuki).