Moto Rapido Ducati’s John Hopkins will start the first MCE British Superbike race at the Brands Hatch Indy circuit from the second row, after finishing fifth fastest in qualifying.
The former MotoGP star was only 0.04 seconds off a sub 45 time, and his Panigale will be sandwiched between Be Wiser Ducati’s Shane Byrne and Honda Racing’s Jason O’Halloran for race-one on Monday.
Hopkins, or Hopper as he is more commonly known around the paddock, put down a 45.044, which is his fastest time ever around the Indy circuit, and it is the quickest time his Ducati team have ever achieved at the 1.2 mile track too.
The American’s best lap was on a SC0 rear Pirelli tyre, and his crew have been working on tyre life throughout the official test on Friday, and during yesterday’s free practice sessions too.
“This is the fastest he has ever been around here and this is the fastest we have ever been around here. The lap times are pretty crazy and we are happy to put one of the crazy ones in,” said team boss Steve Moore, speaking to bikesportnews.com at the track.
“It is the usual stuff everyone is working on, Clearways is such an important corner and we are really concentrating hard on making the bike out of that last corner really hard, and we seem to be up there in the speed traps over the start and finishing line and making the bike look fast which is good.
“We did our fastest lap with the 2017 zero tyre. We spent the test on Friday and all of Saturday working on tyre life, because it is really easy to set the bike up particularly with a really stiff chassis on the Ducati to make it that you only get one lap and then it is dead, but we managed a good 16, 17 lap run on the Saturday with the zero and still putting in good lap times - I am intrigued to see what the lap pace will be on lap 30.”