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Hopkins looking to consolidate top ten status at Donington

Hopkins looking to consolidate top ten status at Donington

Hopkins looking to consolidate top ten status at Donington

John Hopkins this weekend completes the first half of his rookie year in the MotoGP World Championship as one of only two riders to score points in every round of the season so far. The American youngster picked up an outstanding seventh place at Assen last weekend, his best result of the campaign, to move up five places to tenth in the rider standings and consolidate his reputation as one of the hottest racing talents to emerge from across the Atlantic in recent years.

`It was a really good race and finally I got the start that I wanted,´ he reflects. `For the first couple of laps I was racing with Gibernau and McWilliams in a tight pack and Harada was holding up all of us. We got round him and Gibernau and McWilliams were passing back and forth, making some really wild passes so I decided that I would let them pan out before I mixed it up with them.´ When Gibernau crashed out and McWilliams retired, the teenager was left alone as he cut down the gap to his compatriot and former World Champion Kenny Roberts from six seconds to just 2.6 by the end of the race.

Hopkins now trails Roberts by just five points in the championship and harbours realistic hopes of using the second half of the season to achieve even better results and finish as the top American rider. `I am really happy that I can continue to improve - this is what I am aiming for. I set my goal on a top ten at Catalunya, which I was able to achieve, and at Assen I was hoping for eighth and I got seventh. My intention is to finish a race in the top five before the end of this season.´

The Red Bull Yamaha rider is an outside shot for that first top five finish this weekend at Donington, and he is hoping for special support from the British crowd. `I am the only member of my family to be born outside of England, so this is a very special race for me. I am very proud of my English roots and even though I have never raced at Donington it will feel like a home race for me. I am in an English team so hopefully the crowd can get behind me and I can provide them all with a good result.´

MotoGP, 2002, John Hopkins

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