Samsung Crescent Suzuki team manager Jack Valentine says he was left 'speechless' by the manner in which his rider John Hopkins lost out on the 2011 MCE British Superbike Championship.
Hopkins was pipped to the finish line by Tommy Hill after thrilling last lap exchange at the Brands Hatch finale, the Swan Yamaha man's advantage of 0.006secs proving just enough to turn a two point deficit into a two point victory.
A bitter defeat for Hopkins and the Crescent team, which headed the standings coming into the final round after the American won three of the opening four 'Showdown' races, it was the unusual electrical glitch in the second Brands Hatch race that arguably cost it the title, though Valentine insists he won't dwell on such instances.
The second-year in succession that Crescent Suzuki have missed out on the BSB title having led into the final round, ironically with Hill as its rider twelve months ago, Valentine could not hide his disappointment at the final result, but expressed his pride towards the whole team.
"I'm speechless,” he conceded. “It's impossible to put into words how this feels. It's hugely disappointing, yet I find I'm happy as well – I think that's the pride I feel for the team. What they've achieved this year has been brilliant, an unbelievable job.
"Racing will always be a story of ifs and buts and we've plenty of those to take away from this weekend – what if Hopper's electrics hadn't suffered that glitch in the first race; what if JK had stayed on and got in the mix? But the story of the championship isn't down to one or two isolated moments like those, there's more to it than that and everyone has those moments during the year. We just have to take away the positives. We were there and we got to within literally an inch or so of the title. We did everything we could.
"So I'd like to say a big thank you back to my riders as well, I've appreciated everything they've done this season. Hopper has been an inspirational rider to work with, very giving, very open and always positive – we'll have so many great memories of this season with him. JK has been through an incredible journey this year, making the step up to the big time – and today he showed he's now one of Britain's top riders for sure.
“Then huge thanks to Lez and Dale and their crews, all of them have been incredibly professional – and inspirational – this season. It's been a great team. And finally, to Samsung, FIXI and all our sponsors – thanks for everything, without their support we wouldn't be here, the support has been brilliant. We hope they enjoyed the ride as much as we did. One more thing, then: bring on 2012!"