John Hopkins the 19 year old American rookie has put in another exceptional performance in Friday's qualifying session in Barcelona aboard the Red Bull Yamaha YZR 500. Finishing 8th in the scorching 34 degree temperature, Hopper is very pleased with his performance in this his sixth MotoGP event of his career.

Hopkins performance today, positions him as the fastest 2 stroke Yamaha in the session and sees him again in Fridays Top Ten list, a feat he accomplished for the first time at the Italian GP, 2 weeks ago.

Only a mere 0.125 seconds behind the reigning World Champion, Valentino Rossi (in 5th position), Hopper clocked the Fastest Top Speed for a 2 stroke Yamaha at 306.6km, ahead of his nearest 2 stroke Yamaha rival Shinya Nakano.

"I'm getting more comfortable on the bike now, I'm learning to understand it more at each race and I am working in really well with the team and my mechanics," said Hopkins.

"I'm pretty happy with my performance today and I feel like I found my rhythm fast here. I had a full two dry days testing here in March and I know about the track straight up so I can concentrate on the bike from first thing Friday morning.

"We have a lot of work to do tonight, to select the tyres for the heat here; we will be working on the grip and our race set-up. I am focusing on the beginning of the race and the start so I can get stronger here. I want to be on the second row on Sunday and I will do all I can to achieve that."

Newcomer to the team, German Alex Hofmann, made history today as the first German ever to ride a 500cc Yamaha 2 stroke. Hofmann improved on this mornings practice session by 1.719 seconds and with each lap, the young 22-year-old begins to understand the performance of the YZR 500.

"I am feeling better on the bike with each lap and getting more comfortable on the 500 and I am making progress," said Hopkins. "We are fighting for grip on the rear in these hot conditions and I have been sliding a lot in this session and going sideways. So we have to make some changes for the set-up for tomorrow to improve this."

"Just another step forward for John and its incredible to see how steady and sure his progress is," said Team Manager Peter Clifford. "We have to thank Dunlop for the work they are putting in, which is helping with John's progress.

"It's only Alex's second day riding with the Team and it was another professional and intelligent session as he gets use to the motorcycle."

This weekend, the Red Bull Yamaha riders line up as the 2 youngest riders on the MotoGP grid.