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Hopkins makes history with race two victory

Monday, May 02 2011

Samsung Crescent Racing are celebrating this afternoon as John Hopkins secured a maiden BSB race win, becoming the first American rider to secure a victory in the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship at Oulton Park after taking the lead on the penultimate lap.

Stuart Easton took the holeshot into Old Hall on the opening lap to lead the pack ahead of Josh Brookes, Alex Lowes and Ryuichi Kiyonari. Brookes was instantly on the attack and took the lead a lap later with a move down the inside at Lodge.

On the fourth lap Brookes dropped down the order as he had a moment on the exit of Cascades which dropped him down to third by the time the pack reached Lakeside, handing Easton the lead from Lowes.

Shane 'Shakey' Byrne was trying to move himself up the order but on the fifth lap an attempted move on Michael Rutter at Hizzy's chicane dropped him from fifth down to eighth. Laverty was doing his best to put the Swan Yamaha at the front of the field but on lap eight he went over the grass at Hizzys from fourth place and when he rejoined he was fortunate that Rutter, Byrne and Hopkins were able to avoid him.

There was more drama a lap later when Brookes, who was shadowing Easton for the lead, lost the front at Brittens and the Relentless Suzuki clipped the kerb which flicked the bike spectacularly in the air, narrowly avoiding Easton. The debris of the crash caused the Nissan GTR safety car to be deployed for two laps; the order at the time of the safety car was Easton, Hopkins, Laverty and Rutter.

Kiyonari was trying to repeat his race one victory, passing Rutter at Hilltop to move fourth. The battle at the front though was intensifying as Laverty had moved up to second ahead of Hopkins at Old Hall on the fourteenth lap. Laverty then stole the lead with a move on Easton in a repeat move a lap later; with Hopkins also forcing the MSS Colchester Kawasaki rider back a place on the run down to Lakeside.

Hopkins could then see his chance and the Samsung Crescent Racing rider forced his way down the inside of Laverty on the run down Lakeside to lead a BSB race for the first time which he then held to the line to take an emotional maiden victory. Laverty made a mistake at Hizzys on the final lap which saw him drop from a potential podium to fifth, with Byrne able to steal the final podium position on the final lap.

Alex Lowes scored a second victory in the Mirror.co.uk BSB Evo race, ending the race in 14th whilst Jon Kirkham took the fastest lap to add a point to the Speedy Fastest Lap League.

MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Oulton Park, race two result:

1. John Hopkins (Samsung Crescent Racing)
2. Stuart Easton (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) +0.221s
3. Shane Byrne (HM Plant Honda) +0.521s
4. Ryuichi Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda) +0.633s
5. Michael Laverty (Swan Yamaha) +1.026s
6. Michael Rutter (Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati ) +2.930s
7. Jon Kirkham (Samsung Crescent Racing) + 2.949s
8. Peter Hickman (Tyco Honda) +7.183s
9. Loris Baz (Motorpoint Yamaha) +7.326s
10. Gary Mason (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) +7.293s

MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship standings after Oulton Park:

1. Shane Byrne (HM Plant Honda) 70
2. Stuart Easton (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) 59
3. Ryuichi Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda) 58
4. John Hopkins (Samsung Crescent Racing) 56
5. Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha) 45
6. Michael Laverty (Swan Yamaha) 35

The next round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship takes place at Croft on 13-15 May.