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Hopkins up top again, Biaggi escapes
30 July 2011
John Hopkins's hopes of causing an upset on his World Superbike wild-card appearance at Silverstone were increased during Q2 as he topped his second session of the weekend.
The American, riding the Samsung Crescent Suzuki, mirrored his performance in FP1 to sneak ahead of Carlos Checa during Q2, the pair comfortably fastest in an otherwise very tight session.
Checa had looked on course to maintain his overnight top spot, the Spaniard steadily lowering his personal best as the order changed behind him. However, Hopkins's late effort of 2mins 05.058secs would prove just under a tenth better than the series leader.
Despite Hopkins's presence, it was a good session for Ducati, with Sylvain Guintoli leaping up to third late on aboard the Effenbert-Liberty machine, while Maxime Berger proved his Q1 pace was no fluke as he improved his time to remain a strong fourth.
Indeed, with less than a second covering third down to 17th, the battle to qualify for Superpole intensified as the session wore on, not least as some big names flirted perilously with the drop zone.
Marco Melandri, 14th overnight, went safe to set the fifth best time, but sparring partner Max Biaggi very nearly found himself down and out as he steadily slid down the order. Though he remained safe with 15th fastest, he will be concerned to end Q2 as one of only three riders not to improve their Q1 effort.
Those who won't make an appearance this afternoon include Troy Corser, who was the unlucky loser when James Toseland's late improvement put him safe instead. The Australian is joined by Alex Lowes – who lost time with a crash -, Joan Lascorz, Roberto Rolfo, Fabrizio Lai and Jon Kirkham in knowing their grid positions for tomorrow's races.
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