Hopkins On Front Row

Cycle News Staff | October 8, 2011

Samsung Suzuki’s John Hopkins will start the first of three races at Brands Hatch from the front row, the Californian qualifying third today – ahead of his major rival for the British Superbike Championship as the season gets set for a thrilling close.

It was Josh Brookes who earned pole position, the Australian riding the Relentless Suzuki to a 1:25.11 lap to beat out Swan Yamaha’s Michael Laverty and Hopkins and his GSX-R1000.The battle for pole went to the very end with Hopkins holding it until getting passed by Laverty. Then came Brookes at the very end to earn his first pole of the season.Tommy Hill, Hopkins’ main rival for the title, will start fourth on the Swan Yamaha, the Brit .3 of a second slower than Hopper.Honda’s Shane Byrne, meanwhile, crashed at the start of Superpole 2 and will be forced to start from 19th on the grid.Qualifying1.                  Josh Brookes (Suzuki) 1:25.111

2.                  Michael Laverty (Yamaha) 1:25.142

3.                  John Hopkins (Suzuki) 1:25.289

4.                  Tommy Hill (Yamaha) 1:25.584

5.                  James Ellison (Honda) 1:25.728

6.                  Michael Rutter (Ducati) 1:25.972

7.                  Jon Kirkham (Suzuki) 1:25.990

8.                  Graeme Gowland (Honda) 1:26.189

9.                  Martin Jessopp (Ducati) 1:26.359

10.                  Alex Lowes (Yamaha) 1:26.983