John Hopkins has heaped praise on the new ePayMe Yamaha team after he pushed into the top three in Friday's free practice for the opening round of the 2016 MCE British Superbike championship.
The 2011 BSB runner-up has partnered up with former rival Tommy Hill who famously beat him to the title by 0.006s at the all-new factory-backed Yamaha squad alongside new team-mate Stuart Easton.
After finishing pre-season testing delighted with the 'GP-style feel' from the Yamaha YZF-R1 Hopkins produced an impressive practice run in FP2 which culminated in the American jumping to third overall with a 2m 07.231s – ahead of the likes of Leon Haslam, Shane Byrne and Michael Laverty.
“The conditions were not the greatest in the morning but it is the same for everyone so we made the most of it by staying out on intermediates tyres and seemed to suit conditions well,” Hopkins said. There wasn't a lot to be learnt this morning so it was a matter of feeling the bike with new gearing changes.
“This afternoon it wasn't perfect dry conditions but we made the most of it and were able to work on the bike's set-up and we are quite happy. We've got some changes we want to try tomorrow if it is dry.”
Hopkins has also confirmed ePayMe Yamaha is getting on top of problems it suffered with gearing on the R1, which incidentally fellow Yamaha squad TAG Racing also suffered which prematurely ended James Rispoli's day at Silverstone, and feels it is all part of the steep learning curve for a brand new team.
“It is a brand new team and they've done extremely well basically starting from scratch,” he said. “We have a little bit of data from last year which we've able to go off but it really is a brand new team. There are bound to be technical glitches here and there but for the most part everything is running smooth.”