Hopkins sets pace in Oulton FP1

John Hopkins sets the early pace at Oulton Park, ahead of title rivals Tommy Hill and Shane Byrne, while James Ellison returns with fourth.
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 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.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
John Hopkins - Samsung Crescent Suzuki [pic credit: Jamie Morris]
John Hopkins - Samsung Crescent Suzuki [pic credit: Jamie Morris]
Josh Brookes,Ryuichi Kiyonari, John Hopkins, Superbike race 2, BSB Snetterton, July 2011
John Hopkins - Samsung Crescent Suzuki
John Hopkins - Samsung Crescent Suzuki [pic credit: Ian Hopgood]
John Hopkins - Samsung Crescent Suzuki [pic credit: Ian Hopgood]
Jake Dixon, RAF Reserves Kawasaki [Credit: MSV BSB Media]
Josh Brookes, Anvil Hire Yamaha, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Shane Byrne, Be Wiser Ducati, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Luke Mossey, JG Speedfit Kawasaki, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Peter Hickman, Smiths BMW [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Tommy Bridewell, Team WD-40 Kawasaki [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
James Ellison, McAMS Yamaha [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Alastair Seeley, Tyco BMW [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Lee Jackson, Smiths Racing BMW [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Haslam, Byrne, Mossey, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Shane Byrne, Be Wiser Ducati, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Leon Haslam, JG Speedfit Kawasaki [Credit: Ian Hopgood]

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