Samsung Crescent Racing Suzuki’s John Hopkins goes into the second round of the three-race Showdown leading the points and second on the grid after qualifying at the Silverstone round of the British Superbike Championship.Hopkins had recently returned to the UK after an emergency trip home to California for more surgery on the finger he fractured during the mid-August Czech Grand Prix in Brno. As a precaution, Hopkins sat out Saturday’s final free practice session. Still, Hopkins held the fastest time until the closing minutes of the third qualifying session when he was edged out by Swan Yamaha’s Michael Laverty, who took his second pole position of the Showdown.
“I am still feeling pretty sore and you definitely feel it after you have been out there,” Hopkins said after missing out on the pole by .077 sec. “I had a real taste in qualifying of what it will be like tomorrow as the adrenaline kind of kicks in and then it doesn’t feel so bad. The pain has been a bit of a pain in the ass this weekend but nothing that a dose of adrenaline tomorrow won’t sort out.”To be honest, I thought I had done enough in the last session to take pole, but all credit to Michael (Laverty) as that was a great lap from him. I am sure we can go out in the races tomorrow and rise to the occasion. The pain will be in the back of my mind and the focus on winning will help me tremendously tomorrow to try and keep the Samsung Crescent Racing Suzuki at the front.”Joining Laverty and Hopkins on the front row are Josh Brookes (Relentless Suzuki by TAS) and Michael Rutter (Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati).More important to Hopkins was who wasn’t on the front row. Swan Yamaha’s Tommy Hill, who sits three points behind Hopkins, 565 to 568, after the first round of the Showdown, was fifth fastest and .588 sec. off the pace of his pole-sitting teammate. Hopkins’ teammate Jon Kirkham was sixth followed by Martin Jessopp (Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati) and Peter Hickman (Tyco Honda).
The surprise of the day was the makeup of the fourth row. HM Plant Honda’s Shane Byrne suffered with front end chatter to the 13th fastest time and behind two EVO bikes. Tommy Bridewell (Motorpoint Yamaha) qualified just behind Byrne, and in front of of Team WFR’s James Westmoreland and Byrne’s teammate and BSB defending champion Ryuichi Kiyonari.BSB Qualifying: 1. Michael Laverty (Yamaha) 2:05.056
2. John Hopkins (Suzuki) 2:05.133
3. Josh Brookes (Suzuki) 2:05.511
4. Michael Rutter (Ducati) 2:05.531
5. Tommy Hill (Yamaha) 2:05.644
6. Jon Kirkham (Suzuki) 2:06.224
7. Martin Jessopp (Ducati) 2:06.225
8. Peter Hickman (Honda) 2:06.631
9. Graeme Gowland (Honda) 2:06.508
10. Dan Linfoot (Honda) 2:06.735