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Positive weekend for Hopkins
Positive weekend for Hopkins

Luke Hopkins had another positive weekend in the latest round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship from Knockhill.

He finished race one in 23rd place on board the Black Onyx Security Racing Honda machine. He had a DNF in race two and then in race three he finished 19th to end the weekend on a high. He brings us his race report from Knockhill.

Prior to round 4 at Knockhill we were able to do a two-day test at the circuit in fine weather so when Friday dawned wet, cold and windy we decided to skip free practice 1 as there was little to be gained riding in the wet when the forecast for the rest of the weekend was good.

Sure enough, it stopped raining after lunch and with a stiff breeze and rising temperature FP2 was dry and I finished my first session in 26th place but a little off my best time from the test.

Saturday was dry but really blustery so conditions weren’t perfect but I found four tenths of a second in FP3 to head in to qualifying in 27th place. In qualifying I dipped under my personal best from the test to post a 48.406 seconds lap which would eventually put me 24th on the grid for race one; my best qualifying performance of the season so far.

Race one on Saturday is always the shorter “Sprint” race but with Knockhill being such as short lap it was still going to be 22 laps around this physically demanding little circuit. When the lights went out, I got a decent start and settled in to the battle for 16th with a big group of riders but then I lost a bit of pace in the middle part of the race and lost the tow from the group but enjoyed a great scrap with Harrison and Takahashi to finish 23rd.

The weather improved for Sunday’s two 30 lap races and with the sunshine came a massive crowd; the place was heaving which is so good to see. Race two was super frustrating though. After the safety car period for Leon Haslam’s crash on lap seven I made a good re-start and was battling in a group for 18th place.

My pace on worn tyres was good and I was closing in on Dan Linfoot and Dean Harrison when the bike suddenly stopped. At the time I had no idea why but when we got the bike back to the garage Remi found the problem straight away; a small wire had snapped so the bike had simply cut out. Another little issue that no one could have foreseen but still annoying. Thankfully, it was a very easy fix so the bike was quickly repaired and made ready for race three.

Due to my DNF in race two I dropped a few places on the grid for race three so that made life a little tougher but I settled in to a good rhythm but I had a fairly lonely race to finish 19th which was a decent result and a positive end to the weekend.

Thanks again to my fantastic team, especially my mechanics, Remi and Alvaro who work so hard throughout race weekends. Round five of the championship takes us to my local track, Brands Hatch, where I always enjoy great support. In the meantime, we have a five-week gap which is just as well because from Brands onwards the meetings come thick and fast. #bringiton

Images courtesy of MotoAero Photography