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John Hopkins ended the first day of his latest test session with the Red Bull Yamaha WCM team by bettering the times he turned on the bike during a test last year.
Hopkins flew to Vienna from his hometown of San Diego on the morning of Monday, July 9, after driving home from the AMA/World Superbike races at Laguna Seca. Barely 24 hours after arriving in Europe, and with a bad case of jet lag, Hopkins was aboard a Yamaha YZR500 at Brno.
"He has a pretty serious case of jet lag," said WCM Racing Director Peter Clifford of Hopkins. "He's just been going around, although the weather hasn't cooperated and we stopped after half a day because of rain. Pretty soon he got down to better the times he did here last year, just riding the bike, nothing ragged."
As for bike set-up, Clifford said that the YZR500 was initially set-up as it was during Hopkins' test last year. "He started with it virtually the same as last year," Clifford said, "except for a slight difference in the forks. Since then we've been having him try some things that Hamish (Jamieson) knows are better just by our having another year of working with the bike. We're letting him try things and his comments have all been very logical and in line in what Hamish expected.
"I think if you look in terms of the general way he rides, he does really, really well," continued Clifford. "If all you looked at was the lap times you wouldn't be stunned, because the way he goes about things is not to leap on it and break the lap record. It's the way he moves on in periods two, three and four that are impressive. We don't expect him to be blindingly fast right now. He's doing well."
The YZR500 Hopkins is riding carries his initials, JH, on its numberplates.