Lloyds British Moto Rapido Ducati leave Oulton Park disappointed after a promising start
The Lloyds British Moto Rapido Ducati team were unable to lose the curse of bad luck that has beset the team this season. The Winchester based team were unable to capitalise on a promising practice and qualifying sessions as technical gremlins plagued the team throughout the three races.
Hopkins had been quick throughout the weekend but the run of bad luck had continued in qualifying three and all three races of the weekend’s triple header.
Qualifying had begun in a promising manner for ‘Hopper’ with a P3 in Q1 and 2nd in Q2. However a missed gear in the final qualifying session on a flying lap, led Hopkins to run on at cascades resulting in a slow speed spill thus only being able to complete the qualifying session.
Race 1 - Hopkins starting from 10th position on the fourth row of the grid immediately made gains on lap 1 as he eased into 7th position. He was to the hold this position until lap 3 when a dust-up with Luke Mossey relegated him to 8th. ‘Hopper’ began to lose ground to those in front but seemed to regroup and close in on the tails of McConnell and Linfoot. However it soon became apparent that Hopkins had a problem as his times dropped and he fell further down the field. On Lap 13 the Californian rider brought his Panigale into the pit lane as he could no longer continue with the grip levels he had available. Hopkins did re-join the race briefly once the tyre had cooled to see if any grip had retuned but pulled into the garage shortly afterwards after the rear tyre continued to spin up.
Race 2 - Again Hopkins started from the 4th row but after two laps had dropped back to 13th position, however on lap 3 a mistake led to him dropping further back to 21st. From there Hopkins had to dig deep to try and claw some places back for the Lloyds British Moto Rapido Panigale. By half distance the American rider had moved into 16th and then over the next couple of laps moved through the field to close in on the top 10 only for technical problems to strike again. A clutch problem gave Hopkins no option but to pull into the pits to end another eventful and ultimately disappointing race for the team.
Race 3 - A decent lap in race 2 set up Hopkins for a row 2 start in the final race of the weekend. A good start meant Hopkins held his position and was immediately challenging Linfoot in front of him but mechanical gremlins struck again. Hopkins found it difficult to select a gear so was forced to bring the bike back to the garage to end a disheartening weekend that had seemed to promise so much. Steve Moore – Team Manager – Lloyds British Moto Rapido Ducati
“It’s been a really disappointing weekend, we had the lap pace, and we had the lap times, the fastest the bike and John had ever been around here. There was not much we could do about race 1, but race 2 we had a clutch failure, for race 3 we changed everything, we wouldn’t have done anything different so we will have to investigate the reasons for what happened in race 3. So we just have to move on to Assen where we expect the bike and John to be strong. We have not had some of these technical problems before so hopefully we have now got them out of the way for the final leg of the season.”
James Egan riding the MWR Motorsports Superstock 1000 Ducati never managed to get going during the weekend. Egan was 18th in first qualifying and was unable to improve on that position in second qualifying due to damp track conditions. A race start from the 7th row on the grid was always going to make things difficult for the South African and was not helped by a poor start to the race that left him languishing in 25th place. Egan failed to improve on his position in the race and returned to the garage after lap 7. Mark Webster – Team Manager Lloyds British MWR Ducati
“Its been a disappointing end to a long weekend, unfortunately James didn’t feel confident in himself to push the bike as much as he needed to and therefore didn’t ride the bike to its full potential. We now look forward to the last races and hope to capitalise on a good result.”