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Hopkins races ahead of MotoGP pack in China

Hopkins races ahead of MotoGP pack in China

The ever improving Rizla Suzuki rider John Hopkins stepped up the pace in the second MotoGP free practice session today at the Sinopec Great Wall Lubricants Grand Prix of China.

The ever improving Rizla Suzuki rider John Hopkins stepped up the pace in the second MotoGP free practice session today at the Sinopec Great Wall Lubricants Grand Prix of China.

The 23 year-old Anglo-American appears to be finding form in his sixth MotoGP season with a solid Suzuki 800cc package assisting his efforts.

Having been second quickest in the first free practice session in Shanghai earlier today ‘Hopper' topped the timesheets in the afternoon outing lapping in 2'01.204, a time 0.399s faster than his morning best and 0.099s quicker than his closest rival in the second session, Honda Gresini's Marco Melandri.

Dani Pedrosa allayed any fears that he could be struggling with injuries picked up in his Turkish crash to record the third fastest time of the session, just 0.129s behind Hopkins, while the Spaniard's Repsol Honda colleague Nicky Hayden repeated his morning success as the fourth fastest rider.

Of course World Champion Hayden would be hoping to top the timesheets as he defends his title, but his pace in China so far has been encouraging after a difficult start to the season.

Loris Capirossi was the fifth fastest rider of the afternoon run-out while his Ducati Marlboro colleague Casey Stoner was eighth quickest but only 0.256s off Hopkins pace, having been at the fastest in the opening session.

Sandwiched in between the Ducati pair were Fiat Yamaha duo Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards - who are both aiming to put their Turkish nightmares behind them in Shanghai – meaning that there were an equal amount of Bridgestone and Michelin riders in the top eight.

Meanwhile, the fastest 14 riders were all within one second of Hopkins hot lap, as the 800cc era's competitiveness was highlighted yet again in a good sign for Sunday's race.

One man who may not be taking any firther part in the Grand Prix though is Olivier Jacque who following his costly crash in Turkey had another accident in today's second free practice session.

The Frenchman crashed having just set his fastest time of the outing on his 15th lap of the Chinese circuit, and suffered an arm injury which required him to be rushed to hospital for stitches.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2007, SINOPEC GREAT WALL LUBRICANTS GRAND PRIX OF CHINA, FP2

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