Crescent Fixi Suzuki's frustrating start to its maiden World Superbike Championship campaign showed little sign of abating at Assen as the inclement weather conditions and incorrect tyre choices hampered both John Hopkins and Leon Camier.
Having hauled his Suzuki up to a strong eighth place starting position in qualifying, Hopkins was making good progress from a poor start during the first race, lifting himself onto the fringes of the lead group when the red flag was deployed because of rain.
However, the team's day would take a rapid downturn as Hopkins struggled for grip in the wet, crashing out shortly after the race had restarted. Going on to finish outside the top ten in 11th during race two after making an erroneous tyre choice, Hopkins was otherwise content with getting points on the board.
“The conditions today were very difficult for all of us. I got a decent start in race one, but got bottled in at the first turn and lost a few positions. I began to make my way back up the field and was just getting in touch with the back of the lead group when the rain fell and the race was stopped. Up until then, I had settled into a good rhythm and was feeling confident at the thought of mixing it with the leaders. When the race began again in the wet, I just had no grip at all and, like many others, slipped off on the soaking track.
“We basically made the wrong decision regarding tyre choice for race two and suffered because of that. It was a gamble that didn't work and I was sliding around, both front and rear, but was determined to bring the bike home and get some points.”
Hopkins's team-mate Leon Camier fared no better in the Netherlands, the former British Superbike champion suffering the indignity of crashing on the warm-up lap of the race one restart, before struggling to 13th in race two when he started on intermediate tyres.
“For race one, our settings were a bit of a gamble and my tyre was shredded by nine laps. The race was then stopped a few laps later and we all went on full wets. I have no idea why I crashed on the warm-up lap, because I was hardly touching the throttle. One minute I was OK and the next minute I was on my backside!
“We didn't know what tyres to use for race two because although he track was mostly dry, the clouds seemed to be on their way again. I wasn't feeling too confident, so went for what seemed the safe choice - intermediates - but our choice didn't work out because the track dried. The guys on slicks could lap so much quicker and I couldn't do anything about it. All I could do was ride as best I could, not crash and get to the finish line.”