Hopkins leads Bridgestone challenge in U.S GP return
Bridgestone marked a spectacular return for Grand Prix racing to America with hard-fought top ten finishes for home favourite John Hopkins, Shinya Nakano and Loris Capirossi.
After an exile of 11 years, the MotoGP world championship returned to the breathtaking Laguna Seca circuit in California, with a sell-out and sun-drenched 57,000-strong crowd cheering Hopkins home to eighth position.
"I'm pretty disappointed to be honest because I was really excited to be racing at home," said Hopkins. "It's definitely not where I wanted to finish. I got passed by a few guys at the start of the race and at this track where overtaking is pretty tough, it's so hard to make the passes back."
"I ended up having to stick where I was for most of the race. I tried for the longest time to get past Bayliss and it just didn't happen. With the higher track temperatures today we had to use a harder rear tyre that we hadn't really got on with over the weekend. I wanted to put on a good show for all the American fans and I'm sure I did as all I was doing was sliding around a lot during the race. It was good to see two American riders one and two at their home GP, but I really wish it was me."
Bridgestone Corporation vice president Sugio Fukuoka commented: "In our first ever-race as the MotoGP class here in America, our teams and riders performed very well. Although we cannot be fully content with the results today, the fact that our tyres performed well here is a positive note. We made several advances here and gathered precious data which will be used in our next steps of development. We now look forward to getting back to the European rounds."