BSB » 08 October 2011
Laverty takes victory as Hopkins beats Hill
Michael Laverty puts in a flawless performance to win his third race of the season, while John Hopkins shows his mettle by fending off a determined Tommy Hill.
Michael Laverty has won his third MCE British Superbike Championship race of the season, but all eyes were on a thrilling duel between title protagonists John Hopkins and Tommy Hill, one which came down to the very final corner.
Starting from second position on the grid behind pole sitter Josh Brookes, Laverty got the better start to lead into Paddock Hill Bend, with Brookes slotting into second place and Hopkins holding onto third.
Hill, however, got a tardy getaway and was beaten to fourth by Michael Rutter, before an error into Surtees dropped him behind James Ellison in sixth.
A potentially crucial moment for the championship, while Hill would be past Ellison and Rutter within two corners on lap six, his time behind the pair had allowed the leaders, including Hopkins, to pull away.
Even so, Hopkins was not able to stay with the top two, Laverty and Brookes setting a fierce pace up front as they diced for the win. Indeed, though Brookes was able to break the Brands Hatch GP lap record, he was being given scant opportunity to get past the Swan Yamaha ahead.
It is how they would remain throughout the race, Brookes pushing Laverty hard, but the Ulsterman refusing to make a mistake as he crossed the line a very satisfied winner. Despite his triumph though, Laverty remains 35 points adrift of Hopkins with two races and 50 points remaining.
As the Laverty and Brookes cruised to first and second in formation, the battle for third was coming alive in the closing stages as Hill made remarkably swift headway into Hopkins's seemingly comfortable advantage.
Indeed, a series of fast laps allowed Hill to close the gap of more than two seconds with five laps remaining, though the Swan Yamaha man would also find an inspired Ellison has tailed him to add another dimension to his challenge.
Lining up Hopkins for a move on the penultimate lap, Hill slipped through into Paddock Hill Bend, a perfectly judged pass as he just held it together on the exit. However, Hopkins would show his fighting spirit by landing a re-pass at Surtees and moving back into third place.
Tagged as: Yamaha , Ducati , Brands Hatch , Michael Rutter , Tommy Hill , Shane Byrne , John Hopkins , Ryuichi Kiyonari , Michael Laverty , alex lowes , jon kirkham
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