British Superbike Championship, Assen, Datatag Extreme Qualifying

by Mark Rowe

American John Hopkins is finally ready to complete the job and jump on a British Superbike podium with Tyco Suzuki after qualifying on the front row in second place at Assen’s famous TT Circuit in the Netherlands. Hopkins waited patiently and maturely during a wet and tricky Q3 session to take a front row grid spot; his second successive BSB race one front row after qualifying on pole position at Donington Park a fortnight ago. And with a confidence inspiring set up for both wet and dry conditions, Hopper is confident of completing what he started this weekend on the team’s GSX-R1000 Superbike.

John Hopkins said: “Assen is fast and flowing and all about having confidence in your machine. I’m hoping we can take this qualifying through to race day and turn it into results, which we couldn’t quite do at Donington Park. I had my one and only MotoGP pole position here at Assen, so I have some good memories of the place. My Tyco Suzuki is working really well here wet or dry so hopefully, yeah we can turn today into some decent results on Sunday.” His team-mate Josh Waters, who is making his Assen debut, got caught out by the rain during Q2 when on a personal best lap but is confident he can improve his race two start position after qualifying in 13th for tomorrow’s opening race at Assen.

Josh Waters said: “Overall we’ve done a decent job and although I would have like to have made Q3, I’m confident that we can push in race one and get a good result. I’ve been making that top six for a few meetings now and we’ve found solid consistency, so anything less on Sunday on the Tyco Suzuki GSX-R1000 and I’ll be disappointed.” Taylor Mackenzie also had to deal with a wet but drying track during Saturday’s British Supersport Sprint race and eventually finished 12th after fighting top six in the early exchanges.

Philip Neill – Team Manager, said: “We are all very impressed with John’s achievements today in difficult conditions, especially having sat out the early part of the session to avoid a potential disaster – then to go out and bang in a front row qualifying time in Q3. He had the dry set up to go front row and possibly pole on the Tyco Suzuki GSX-R1000 here at Assen, and we already know as a team, we have worked hard to perfect our wet set-up, so again we are hopeful of something deserved tomorrow in whatever conditions.”

British Superbike Championship, Assen, Datatag Extreme Qualifying:

1. Christian Iddon (Bimota) 1m:52.261s
2. John Hopkins (Tyco Suzuki) +0.131s
3. Tommy Bridewell (Yamaha) +0.411s
4. Ryuichi Kiyonari (BMW) +0.517s
5. Dan Linfoot (Kawasaki) +0.607s
6. Josh Brookes (Yamaha) +0.965s
7. Jon Kirkham (Kawasaki) +1.447s
8. Chris Walker (Kawasaki) +1.575s
9. Martin Jessopp (BMW) +4.436s
10. Peter Hickman (Honda) +5.185s


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