John Hopkins says separate tyre problems in each race at Thruxton denied him the chance to challenge for a maiden podium in the 2017 MCE British Superbike championship.
The Moto Rapido Ducati rider enjoyed an encouraging start to his Thruxton race weekend by progressing into his first-ever Superpole shootout and had produced front-running pace throughout practice.
Unfortunately a slow puncture on Hopkin’s front tyre in the closing laps of race one saw his pace plummet as he limped home in ninth place, but worse was to follow when the former MotoGP star’s rear tyre was shredded by the abrasive Thruxton circuit which forced him to retire on five laps from the finish.
Assessing his race weekend overall, Hopkins was left downbeat having collected just a handful of points having competed inside the top five for the majority of the race weekend before his race weekend.
“We got a decent start in race one but after a couple of laps in I was pushing the front everywhere and it felt really strange and really loose,” Hopkins said. “It started to get worse after the safety car went in and it was just a matter of nursing the bike home. It turned out we had a slow puncture in the front. The tyre was nearly down to the rim by the time we got it back to the garage so it was good to get it home and get some points.
“Going into race two everything felt really good, again I got a good start and we were right there in the hunt and in a battle with O’Halloran and Brookes and at that point I felt quite comfortable and I slipped into tyre conservation mode. I felt like I was getting into a good rhythm and then from half race distance, I instantly felt like I had no rear tyre whatsoever. Every time I tried to turn it into a corner, the bike went full lock sideways.
“I tried to nurse it around and I was five or six seconds off the pace and nearly crashing in every right-hand corner so I had to pull in. So we had an issue with the front tyre in race one and the rear tyre in race two.
“It’s frustrating because we know we had the pace and the capabilities to be in the top five consistently. To have niggling little issues in every race is frustrating we know we can do it and we know we can get there.”