Posted: 12 Sep 2011
RACE 1 – HOPKINS CLAWS BACK THE GAP
As expected, the main protagonists were all lined up on the grid ready for battle. Hill dominated qualifying with a lap record and looked to continue his run of race wins.
From the start it was obvious there was going to be some close racing on the flowing Leicestershire circuit. For the first four laps it was close racing; as close as you can get it. Leader swaps from small mistakes kept the crowd enthralled as everyone wondered who would be providing the tow on every lap as the riders screamed down the start/finish straight.
In the end, it was Laverty and Hopkins who pulled distance, and on lap 17 Hopkins turned up the heat to move ahead of Laverty and maintained the front spot at the flag to take his third win of the season onboard the Samsung Crescent Suzuki.
Swan Yamaha man Tommy Hill collected third and maintains a slim lead of just two points ahead of Hopkins into race 2.
With the leading four all vying for points, Race 2 should have been a corker. Except a first lap collision between Byrne and Laverty send both riders into the gravel trap at the first corner to effectively end their race. This lead the way for Hill and Hopkins to slug it out. This also bought Kiyonari into the equation by promoting him from fifth to third.
However, all eyes were on Hill and Hopkins who were looking to have a good rally until Hopkins took the lead on lap 5 and started to edge ahead before crossing the line in first place.
John Kirkham, on the other Samsung Crescent Suzuki, gave his team an even bigger reason to smile with a fine third place and his second-ever BSB podium. Following him a surprise with Bathams Ducati rider Martin Jessopp also claiming his best-ever BSB result and also pushing Josh Brookes back into fifth.
But praise most also go to Byrne and Laverty who both got back into the fray for vital points. Byrne scraped an impressive eighth place and Laverty fourteenth.