Hopkins becomes first American to win a BSB Rnd with victory at Oulton
British Superbike Championship, Oulton Park, race one result:
Ryuichi Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda)
John Hopkins (Samsung Crescent Racing) +4.150s
Stuart Easton (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) +4.336s
Shane Byrne (HM Plant Honda) +4.646sA
Michael Laverty (Swan Yamaha) +4.684s
Josh Brookes (Relentless Suzuki) +5.105s
Jon Kirkham (Samsung Crescent Racing) +13.582s
Loris Baz (Motorpoint Yamaha) +16.637s
Gary Mason (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) +19.108s
Dan Linfoot (Sorrymate.com Honda) +19.452s
British Superbike Championship, Oulton Park, race two result:
John Hopkins (Samsung Crescent Racing)
Stuart Easton (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) +0.221s
Shane Byrne (HM Plant Honda) +0.521s
Ryuichi Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda) +0.633s
Michael Laverty (Swan Yamaha) +1.026s
Michael Rutter (Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati ) +2.930s
Jon Kirkham (Samsung Crescent Racing) + 2.949s
Peter Hickman (Tyco Honda) +7.183s
Loris Baz (Motorpoint Yamaha) +7.326s
Gary Mason (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) +7.293s
1.Shane Byrne (HM Plant Honda) 70
2.Stuart Easton (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) 59
3.Ryuichi Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda) 58
4.John Hopkins (Samsung Crescent Racing) 56
5.Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha) 45
6.Michael Laverty (Swan Yamaha) 35
Reigning champion Ryuichi Kiyonari and American John Hopkins took the victories in dramatic, thrilling second round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship at Oulton Park.
HM Plant Honda’s Kiyonari worked hard to carve through the pack in the first race, moving from eighth on the opening lap to be third at half distance. Then after overtaking both Hopkins and Michael Laverty in quick succession he recorded his tenth victory at the Cheshire circuit.
Kiyonari who last October had clinched his third British title at the circuit was delighted: “I am very happy especially as it has been very difficult to get the best setting for my bike. The team has worked very hard, late into the night to get this good setting for me.”
Samsung Crescent Suzuki rider Hopkins took second place in the opening race: “That was real good. I have a great bike and to be at a track like this and be competitive is so good – we are back having a good time and I am loving it out there.”
Stuart Easton took third for MSS Colchester Kawasaki ahead of Swan Yamaha’s Laverty and Josh Brookes aboard the Relentless Suzuki.
Easton was quickly away at the start of the second race, running ahead of Brookes, Alex Lowes, Michael Rutter and Hopkins who was having a duel for supremacy with Byrne while Kiyonari was back in eighth place.
Lowes riding the BSB-EVO class WFR Honda moved into second place briefly before Brookes took up the pursuit of Easton, with Hopkins up to third on the eighth lap, but next time around Brookes lost control of his bike going into Brittens. He was thrown off as his bike somersaulted high over the track, and Easton.
“It was like a plane crashing as it came over me,” explained Easton who continued to lead the race after the intervention of the Safety Car, though with Hopkins running second. Laverty joined the front running action, grabbing the lead with three laps to go as he swooped through from third to first.
Hopkins attacked and dived ahead at Cascades and became the first American to win a race in the British series as he headed Easton to the flag by just 0.221secs. Laverty after an error at the chicane dropped back to fifth adrift of the Honda duo of Byrne and Kiyonari.
“That was awesome. I just stuck at it and gave it everything that I’d got. I am enjoying everything about racing over here,” said Hopkins as he celebrated his first victory in 11 years.
“That race was so tough – there was grass flying about, then a bike flying but I had a great bike,I kept it going and I am enjoying everything about that winning ride,” added Hopkins.
Lowes completed a daily double in the Mirror.co.uk BSB-EVO class to comfortably lead the standings 95-57 from Scott Smart who ran his Moto Rapido Ducati into second place in each of the races. Simon Andrews and Barry Burrell each took a third place in the class.
Tommy Hill had broken the lap record to secure pole start but was unable to participate in the races after sustaining ligament damage to his left shoulder. He tumbled heavily from his Swan Yamaha during the raceday morning warm-up session on the Brittens section of the course, where moments earlier Loris Baz had tipped off his Motorpoint Yamaha spilling fluids.
Hill reflected: “It is a big downer for me and the team, so I just had to sit and watch the other boys then go home and get mended as soon as I can. These injuries I have been told can take five to six weeks to heal, but I will see a specialist on Tuesday and then we can go from there.”
There was disappointment also for Jenny Tinmouth whose racing debut as the first woman to contest the series was put on hold as after a troubled free practice with machine problems and a tumble from her Splitlath Aprilia she failed to meet the qualification criteria.
– HM Plant Honda
The HM Plant Honda team worked hard following yesterday’s qualifying session at Oulton Park, to secure a victory for Ryuichi Kiyonari in the opening race and a podium finish for Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne, who now leads the overall standings at the second round of the British Superbike Championship.
In the opening race of the day Kiyo fought his way up the order to take the lead on the eleventh lap and then edge out an advantage over the chasing pack, whilst Shakey just missed out on a podium finish in fourth place. In race two Shakey was able to capitalise on the last lap and take a podium finish with a third place and with it, the championship lead by eleven points.
In the National Superstock 1000 Championship, Jason O’Halloran had a challenging race to finish fifth.
Kiyo said: “Today I was happy with the first race, but not so much with the second race! We made an improvement with the setting over night and the team worked very hard so I have lots to thank them for. I had a better feeling with the bike today and I was quite surprised that all the riders were quite equal. I was happy to be winning again, but in race two we just couldn’t repeat it. I had a small problem and I couldn’t push as hard as I needed to. I couldn’t stay at the front but we scored consistent points which are so important and now we look for more at Croft.”
Shakey said: “I am so pleased to have finished on the podium in the second race; after Saturday’s free practice sessions when we were running outside the top ten I would have taken the offer of a fourth and a third – in fact I would have bitten your arm of for it! The boys in the HM Plant Honda garage and at Motec did such a good job to get us up the sharp end today for the races. There were a couple of moments when I got a raw deal with riders heading off the track, but there were a few I also benefitted from. Everyone was jostling for positions out there and I was able to make the most of it and get the HM Plant Honda Fireblade on the podium. We really turned things around this weekend and to have the lead in the championship ahead of Croft is a good result after everyone’s hard work here at Oulton Park.”
Jason said: “The race was ok but we just had a few issues that we hadn’t managed to overcome for today. We were struggling on some sections of the circuit, but we now know where we need to improve before the next round at Croft to bridge the gap. We just chipped away in the race and for me and the HM Plant Honda team we needed to ensure we scored consistent points for the championship which is what we achieved at the end of the day. We will now just get ready to be back up and fighting at Croft.”
Team Manger Havier Beltran concluded: “The whole HM Plant Honda team have worked hard throughout the weekend to put both Kiyo and Shakey in a position to challenge for the wins and it paid off today. Kiyo had a great win in the first race and then Shakey was back on the podium in the second race and now leads the championship so both riders were consistent and that shows in the standings. In the Superstock class Jason again scored points which could prove critical later in the season. The team is now looking forward to the next round at Croft, the home round of our title sponsor HM Plant.”
The team returns to action at Croft, near Darlington in North Yorkshire in two week’s time, for round three from 13-15 May.
– Relentless Suzuki
Josh Brookes suffered the heartbreak of crashing out of a potential race winning position during today’s second British Superbike race at Oulton Park, taking just an opening race sixth-place for his efforts at the Cheshire venue.
Brookes did make giant strides forward at the start of race two, storming away at the head of the field with Stuart Easton from his front row grid position. And while the pair had opened up a four second lead over their pursuers at half distance, Easton looked, at times, to be holding up the GSX-R of Brookes, who was keen to settle into his own rhythm at the front of the field. Sadly a small mistake on the run into Britten’s chicane on lap nine ended Josh’s weekend a tad prematurely, leaving everyone very disappointed after a very big effort between races.
“I’m hurting but I’m not hurt, although I can’t work out what is worse: sixth or crashing. In race one we started fast but drifted away, but we made changes for race two and the bike felt almost on rails – it was strong and a lot better. To be fair Easton was slowing me up in places; I just wanted to set my own pace as it’s hard to see apexes at Oulton through those little chicanes following someone. It’s disappointing as I believe we could have won that one, but we’ll give it more of the same next time out and hopefully it’ll be our day.”
Alastair Seeley continued his quest for perfection in the British Supersport class taking two strong podiums during the weekend in second place, on the all-new GSX-R600. Seeley set the pole time and the race two fastest lap, with his recent spate of consistency also bringing him three new pieces of silverware in the past seven days.
“I can’t be too disappointed with that, especially as today was only our second race meeting on the new GSX-R600. I was strong for two-thirds then struggled a little, but when Kennedy came past there was no way I was settling for third – I regained my composure. As I showed by setting the fastest lap, I think I could’ve broken away if I’d been able to get some clear track, but it’s going to be tight like that most weekends and 40 points is a good tally.”
Philip Neill – Team Manager
“We were seven or eight laps away from this being a great weekend, but that’s racing. The first BSB race was a good race, but we improved things for race two; Josh just made a huge mistake which he knows was not necessary. The bike can’t be faulted today and really and truly Josh can’t be faulted either; he’s a racer and he was on it, so we can’t expect him not to push for the win when he feels it’s there. We’re obviously just not finding the correct recipe at the minute.
“Alastair showed his experience today and proved it’s all about taking points when that’s all that is on offer, and we need to start doing that in BSB. It’s good to see him using his head in these races, because the GSX-R600 package can only get better and with his consistency he’ll be hard to topple.”
– British Supersport Championship, Oulton Park, race two result:
Winner: Ben Wilson [Kawasaki]
Alastair Seeley [Relentless Suzuki by TAS Racing] +2.552s
Jack Kennedy [Yamaha] +2.648s
Luke Mossey [Triumph] +9.193s
Billy McConnell [Triumph] +15.656s
Paul Young [Triumph] +20.128s
Daniel Cooper [Triumph] +20.304s
Gary Johnson [Honda] +20.426s
Sam Warren [Yamaha] +33.858s
Max Hunt [Honda] +35.204s