John Hopkins says he was 'in awe' after his first runs on the Ducati 1199 Superbike and feels he should be competitive almost instantly this weekend as he makes a one-off return to MCE British Superbikes.

The former MotoGP and World Superbike star will race for the Lloyds British Moto Rapido Ducati squad in place of Jakub Smrz, who is out of action for Brands Hatch due to a hand injury sustained in a qualifying crash at Snetterton in June.

Hopkins, who has never raced on a Ducati before, says he felt comfortable on the Italian machine almost instantly during a test at Brands Hatch last week. The American's claims were backed up by the timesheet after he posted lap times within half a second of the quickest laps recorded when the Indy circuit hosted round two of the 2015 championship back in April.

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"You don't forget how to ride, it's just a matter of blowing the cobwebs off," Hopkins said. "I was more nervous of the fact that I've never ridden a Ducati before, but I was shocked.

"I'm in awe of how I felt on the bike, we didn't touch a single setting I just felt right at home from the start."

Even though the 2011 BSB runner-up is in a confident mood he's well aware of the high quality of riders in the championship this season.

"The competition in BSB this year is going to be fierce there are a lot of fast people out there and some top riders are finishing outside the top 15. It won't be easy," he said. "I think this bike is going to be extremely competitive it's quite easily capable of running right at the front, and hopefully I'm good enough to take it there."