John Hopkins felt a first MCE British Superbike podium result of 2017 was within reach in race two at Snetterton and despite having to settle for fifth the American rider says it represents a strong step forward for Moto Rapido Ducati.

The former MotoGP star battled back from a technical issue in qualifying which restrained him to 18th on the grid for race one to take a charging eighth place. With a stronger starting position Hopkins kept himself at the sharp-end behind the front two of Shane Byrne and Josh Brookes.

Despite dropping to fifth place after Jake Dixon produced a last corner pass on the American rider, Hopkins felt a potential podium was on the cards but was battling against a lack of front tyre grip in the closing stages.

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Hopkins says even though he suffered a breakdown in qualifying and a broken rear break lever halfway through race one, a first genuine trouble-free race weekend has been rewarded with his best results of 2017 and believes if his Moto Rapido Ducati squad can replicate the performances in future rounds the rostrums will come.

"I am really happy because we are on the right track, this is the sort of pace that I knew that we had from the beginning of the year but for one reason or another we have not put it all together," Hopkins said. "We knew we had the pace and I just gave it everything and we made it all the way up to sixth at one point but from around half-distance I ended up losing my rear brake lever and I tend to use the rear brake everywhere especially at a track like this but we finished eighth and had a good starting position for race two.

"I got off the line well and from the first half to three quarters of the race distance it was a matter of hanging with the lead group but also trying to conserve the tyres.

"Unfortunately, Brookes and Shane just had the pace we didn't have and then Ellison lost the front in front of me. It was at a stage that I was really starting to push the front and it made me a little bit nervous and O'Halloran got past me.

"From then on, I was in full attack mode trying to make the podium but for three of four corners I was losing the front and unfortunately Dixon got underneath me on the last lap.

"I was disappointed with that but we had a podium in our grasp and we had two solid finishes which we haven't had all season. It was great to be in the lead group and there is a lot more to come."

Despite his double points finish Hopkins remains in 12th in the BSB riders' championship and 43 points off of the top six BSB Showdown spots.

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Looks like Hopper is getting some of his old form back after some very trying professional and personal difficulties so good luck John and keep plugging away. Skills and talent don't just disappear but confidence often has to be rebuilt if people have had tough times and I hope this is happening for him.......