After producing a strong base setting with his ePayMe Yamaha John Hopkins says he's confident he can take his attack to the front at the season opener at Silverstone this weekend.
Hopkins and new team-mate Stuart Easton have formed the all-new factory-supported ePayMe Yamaha team run by former BSB champion Tommy Hill taking up the machinery which powered Josh Brookes to the 2015 title.
Hopkins says he's satisfied with his pre-season testing having quickly adapted to the YZF-R1 and despite not setting the timesheet alight, having not used a new tyre at the end of the sessions when the pace increased, is confident he has the pace to match the front-runners.
“We have worked through some different areas and the bike felt really good; the chassis works well there with its fast and flowing nature and the throttle delivery suits the track,” Hopkins said on britishsuperbike.com
. “We were at the top of the times for a bit and we didn't put a new tyre in towards the end of the day like some of the other teams, so I was happy with where we ended up.”
12 months ago Brookes on the all-new R1 had the race pace to battle for rostrums over the opening rounds and after chipping away with developments he claimed his first win at the halfway point of the season at Brands Hatch.
Hopkins feels his team has not yet 'scratched the surface' and will be hoping to emulate the Australians results this season by building up its race pace over the course of the early rounds.
"It had the comfort and throttle connection and everything that felt positive on the bike that I rode last year but the chassis feels like it has a GP feel to it and of course that is what I have spent the majority of my career riding,” he said. “That is a really positive thing that we are so far towards the front already despite our lack of testing compared to the other riders. I think we should be right there from round one.”