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Thu, 24 Sep 2015

Best weekend yet for Moto Rapido at Assen

The weekend didn’t start out well for the Hampshire-based squad, with mechanical issues preventing any meaningful running in both free practice sessions on Friday. Despite such limited track time, Hopkins was right on the pace in the all-important three-part qualifying session on Saturday.
Banking strong laps in Q1 and Q2, Hopper set his fastest time of the weekend in the ten-minute final blast to clinch a spot on the outside of the front row for race one. As the chequered flag was flown John was just half a second shy of the ultimate pace set by Showdown contender Josh Brookes.
Race one built to an exciting crescendo after Hopper lost out off the start line to championship contender Shane Byrne. Settling into a strong rhythm, the #15 machine matched the reigning champion until mid-distance, when the pressure forced an error by Byrne into the final chicane.
This ignited a thrilling second half of the race, as soon the BMW of Michael Laverty joined the battle and the trio traded places time and again. Ultimately Hopkins had to settle for fifth, but it was still a best result for the team and rider combination to date.
Starting fourth for the second encounter, race two was a fraught affair with several aborted starts due to unpredictable rain showers plaguing the Assen TT circuit. With slick tyres and a damp track the start of the race didn't go to plan for Hopkins as he was pushed out wide into turn one. This put him right to the back, and with a shortened race distance of just 15 laps there wasn't much time to repair the damage.
Despite this, John fought admirably, and with conditions still changeable he managed to pull off a raft of overtakes to haul the 1199 Panigale superbike back into the points. The #15 rider was speeding towards an impressive resurgent top ten finish, however he didn't quite have enough laps and took the chequered flag in 11th.
John Hopkins said: "It's been a really positive weekend overall we had a solid race one, the bike worked great we were struggling a little bit in the first sector trying to get the bike turned. We made some changes for race two and the bike felt great and I was looking for a podium. Unfortunately at the start of the second race I got pushed wide which in these conditions you don’t want and I lost a lot of ground which I did my best to make up. The bike is working great now so I am looking forward to fighting for a podium at Silverstone.”
Steve Moore said:"I'm really happy with the weekend. The team has been amazing and John has proven once again what a professional he is. It was brilliant to see the Ducati up there battling with the showdown contenders, and to cross the like just 1.5 seconds away from a podium is really special for us. We should go well at Silverstone too, so bring it on!"

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