Hopkins picks up where he left off
John Hopkins used the benefit of his experience around the Oulton Park circuit to get his seventh round of the MCE British Superbike Championship off to a good start in first free practice.
The American celebrated his first BSB win at Oulton Park earlier in the season and continued to lead the way as action for round seven got underway, Hopkins four tenths faster than Swan Yamaha's Tommy Hill.
Hill, returning to the circuit where he injured his shoulder during the second round event in May, was in turn a clear four tenths up on third place man Shane Byrne as the top three comfortably out-paced their rivals.
Even so, there was a surprise figure in fourth as James Ellison successfully reacquainted himself with Superbike machinery, the World Supersport rider taking over from Dan Linfoot at Sorrymate.com SMT Honda from this weekend.
Gary Mason was fifth quickest as the top Kawasaki rider, ahead of Michael Laverty, James Westmoreland, Michael Rutter, Josh Brookes and Chris Walker.
Fresh from his World Superbike outing, Alex Lowes could only manage the 19th best lap, while BSB returnee Karl Harris was 21st fastest for Splitlath Aprilia, the former British Supersport champion suffering a fall at Druids.
The session was stopped and declared three minutes from the chequered flag after Buildbase BMW's John Laverty crashed heavily along the start-finish straight. He has been taken to the medical centre for treatment.