catches up with John Hopkins ahead of his much anticipated BSB return at Brands Hatch with the Tyco Suzuki team.
So how did the practice go?

John Hopkins:
Pretty well, it was just about getting comfortable on the bike. Also there are a couple of things we're doing to the bike over the weekend so we're just saving the machinery and only did minimal laps today. It was good though and I just got comfortable on the bike. It was only the bike I was worried about, I don't feel I have a lot to learn on this track.

Up until we stopped running, we had to stop with about 15 minutes to go because we needed to do some stuff on the bike, I was top 3 for most of the session and ended up about 5th or 6th.
Do you feel you've got more to come?

John Hopkins:
Yeah definitely.
How did you feel when you first got on the bike in testing?

John Hopkins:
Not bad, better than I expected in fact. I was quite nervous going into it because you can get a bit rusty after not riding for 16 months but it was just a matter of feeling comfortable on the bike.

We didn't get a whole lot of laps but the tests went well
You mention getting comfortable, do you mean that in the physical sense due to your injuries?

John Hopkins:
I feel better physically than I have done in years and folding onto the race bike was fine. When I say feeling comfortable I mean that as a general statement, I mean comfortable as in getting used to speed again, I've gone from never going over 60mph in a car for 16 months to this. I don't think I've been over 100mph in all that time. I need to get comfortable with riding at 150mph. I think that getting back onto a racing bike is a bit of a culture shock after not being on a bike for 16 months.
Did you manage to do any long runs to test your stamina?

John Hopkins:
I'd say 10 laps maximum unfortunately. The way the testing was with all the combined classes meant that you rarely got space to string 2 laps together and push the limit so unfortunately I haven't had a lot of clear track time.
So doing a complete race on Monday may be a bit of an unknown quantity.

John Hopkins:
Yeah, somewhat but that's why I've been in the gym and working physically. But you've got to remember I've done over 1000 races in my time so it shouldn't be too difficult to get used to.

I didn't feel apprehensive at all approaching this weekend, I just felt excited to get back into race mode again.

Also I've been getting a great reaction from the fans. I always seem to get a great reception from them and I feel that they've warmed to me nicely. It's such a warm welcome.
How similar is this bike to the one you rode before?

John Hopkins:
Chassis, pretty much the same. Engine and electronics are entirely different and that's another thing I've had to get used to, not having all those electronics and that's another aspect of getting comfortable on the bike. I'm having to relearn riding the bike without all the electronics that I've had for the past 10 years.

I actually enjoy riding the bike more than before, it's fun when it spins up. There's a lot more for the rider to do rather than just rely on all the electronics.
So if I offered you a 3rd place podium for the race on Monday, would you take it?

John Hopkins:
No, I'd take my chances for the race. We'd obviously love to be on the podium for the first races but our goal is just to be there or there abouts for the first races and then move upwards. Luckily with the points system being as it is in BSB that gives us that leeway and then we'll see.
God luck for Monday John.

John Hopkins:


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