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American Hopkins storms to sensational Snetterton 300 pole

Saturday, July 02 2011

Samsung Crescent Racing Suzuki's John Hopkins took a historic first pole position on the new Snetterton 300 ahead of tomorrow's first MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship races on the circuit that originally started as a USA air force base. It will be the first time that an American rider will start from the BSB pole position as championship leader Shane 'Shakey' Byrne suffered a disappointing session and will start from sixth.

In the first qualifying session the Samsung Crescent Racing Suzukis led the way in the final stages of Q1 after both Josh Brookes and Shane 'Shakey' Byrne took a turn at the top in the opening minutes. John Hopkins then moved ahead and just a few minutes later Jon Kirkham then displaced his team-mate with the fastest lap of the weekend so far in the critical first session. Ryuichi Kiyonari also moved up the order on the HM Plant Honda after a slow start to the session, he moved sixth ahead of Tommy Hill and Chris Walker.

In the second qualifying session Byrne stormed into the 1m:47s lap time for the first time as the HM Plant Honda again improved on the fastest lap of Q1 to move fastest ahead of Hopkins and Brookes. It was disaster for Michael Laverty on the Swan Yamaha as he got knocked out and will start from twelfth. Gary Mason also suffered disappointment as he looked set to be inside the top ten with a last lap improvement, but on his team-mate Alex Lowes' final lap he moved inside the top ten and displaced Mason back to eleventh.

In the final session Hopkins sensationally stormed to the pole position to edge out Hill who was unable to close the gap to his title rival whilst Byrne will start from row two after he had the frustration of a problem in the closing minutes.

MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Snetterton, qualifying result:

1.John Hopkins (Samsung Crescent Racing Suzuki) 1m:47.451s
2.Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha) +0.545s
3.Jon Kirkham (Samsung Crescent Racing Suzuki) +0.869s
4.Josh Brookes (Relentless Suzuki) +1.006s
5.Loris Baz (Motorpoint Yamaha) +1.363s
6.Shane Byrne (HM Plant Honda) +1.477s
7.James Westmoreland (Motorpoint Yamaha) +1.572s
8.Ryuichi Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda) +1.705s
9.Chris Walker (Pr1mo Racing Kawasaki) +1.774s
10.Alex Lowes (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) +2.317s

The first British Superbike race on the new Snetterton 300 circuit starts at 12:45 tomorrow (Sunday).

You can still purchase tickets for the Snetterton round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship this weekend on the gate with adult admission £30 on raceday (Sunday), children 12 and under go free. For further ticket information visit call 0843 453 9000 or click the link below.