John Hopkins thinks there is no reason why he won't be challenging for a top five result at Brands Hatch and has completely fallen for the Ducati Panigale machine this weekend.

The 2011 MCE British Superbike championship runner-up is acting as stand in at the Lloyds British Moto Rapdio Ducati team for the injured Jakub Smrz and has proven he's lost none of his pace on a superbike after grabbing ninth place in qualifying.

Despite the positive qualifying result and having set the fastest ever lap of a Ducati Panigale in BSB around the Brands Hatch GP circuit, the American rider was left wondering what could have been after suffering a couple of small mistakes on his Q3 flying lap.

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"The weekend has been going so well, and with the time I posted in Q2 it meant I wanted more than ninth place," Hopkins said. "It was my own mistake in Q3, I started to push way too hard and the way the Ducati likes to be ridden is nice and calm.

"The adrenaline was pumping and I just got a bit ahead of myself, but I'm really happy with what the team has done."

Assessing his chances in the two races at the Kent track, Hopkins is gunning for a top five and feels rejuvenated racing the Ducati after suffering a turbulent 2014 with Tyco Suzuki.

"We've barely made any changes to the bike at all this weekend - it's a great package and now I'm just ready to race," he said. "I think strong finishes are extremely possible. My hopes at the beginning of the weekend were to end up in the top ten, but now I want to be well in the top five.

"It's a real confidence boost to be almost 1.5s faster than I could go last year around Brands Hatch GP on the Suzuki, and there's still quite a bit more for me to learn. The Panigale is just a proper race bike - it has a much stiffer chassis than a lot of superbikes and from my experience in MotoGP I guess it really plays in my favour."