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Hopkins optimistic after points finish

Hopkins optimistic after points finish

Hopkins optimistic after points finish

John Hopkins was his usual philosophical self after the first MotoGP race of the season at Welkom, where he collected thirteenth place after losing ground on an intense battle for the top ten. Despite having qualified in eleventh place on the grid, with no previous race experience at the circuit with the Bridgestone tyres Hopkins admitted his Suzuki always going racing against the odds in the second half of the contest and revealed he was more than satisfied to conform with a point-scoring start to the season.

"All around it was a decent weekend, you know, right now things are definitely looking a lot better from last year," commented the youngster. "Things are improving, we're getting a lot of improvements on the bike, the bike reacts how we want it too although the race didn't exactly go how we wanted - it kind of went downhill from the beginning.

"I got into turn one, it was okay, I had a decent position having got off the line good then I got into the first turn and got tangled up with Xaus coming out of there and elbows were going so I just said ‘Alright, just go' and then… I don't know, that kind of turned me off and I had a couple of people pass me from there.

"I started getting frustrated, started making little mistakes and I was really using up the rear tyre. We were actually using a softer compound and we paid the price halfway through the race. I tried to do what I could do… I got caught up in a battle with Nakano and Checa and tried to stick with them and spent the first half in that battle.

"Then I just started dropping back, but I had quick a bit of length over Bayliss so I just said ‘Hey, we're in the points so let's make this our worst possible finish of the year and just go for it for the rest of the year."

Team Manager Garry Taylor was satisfied with the performance of his young charger, although admitted the weekend had ended in overall disappointment for Suzuki with an electrical breakdown for Kenny Roberts.

"Racing's up and down – today was a disappointment," commented Taylor after the race. "We had no testing here, no experience, and we had a niggling little electrical problem with Kenny but we're going to Jerez next and we only came away from there a couple of weeks ago. We're looking forward to that, we'll be competitive there and that's what we're here for."

MotoGP, 2004, John Hopkins

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