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Jul 12, 2001

Hopper's Excellent Brno Adventure, Day Two

California teenager John Hopkins was ecstatic after his second day of testing a Red Bull Yamaha YZR500 at Brno in the Czech Republic, on Thursday, July 12.<BR><BR>"Really, really excited, unbelievably happy with the results and the lap times," said Hopkins in a phone interview with roadracingworld.com, when asked how he felt about his second day of testing.<BR><BR>Hopkins said that the team had been sending him out for five-lap stints between bike adjustments, but at the end of the day put on fresh tires and sent him out for 12 consecutive laps, or about half race-distance.<BR><BR>"I got into the 4s," Hopkins said. "I felt really comfortable doing it. All 12 laps, though the race distance is 22 laps. Every lap was in the 4s, identical to (Garry) McCoy's race pace last year when he finished third. (Shinya) Nakano was following me at the end and couldn't get past. My best lap was a 2:04.3."<BR><BR>Red Bull WCM Racing Director Peter Clifford told roadracingworld.com, "He did 12 laps, a good half race. John got down to mid 4s and did a lot of 4s. Last year (in the race)Garry and Valentino were in the 3s early-on and then drifted into the mid-4s. So yeah, he was good.<BR><BR>"Of course, you can convince yourself of anything, that he's already a GP winner, but today the other people out there, (Alex) Barros and (Loris) Capirossi, were in the 1s.<BR><BR>"I don't just look at individual lap times," continued Clifford. "What's more impressive is that he is smooth and consistent, and just reels off the laps. And his feedback is good, he's progressed with the motorcycle as we've adjusted it, and all his comments make sense."<BR><BR>At last year's Czech Grand Prix, winner Max Biaggi qualified on pole at 2:01.291 and turned the fastest lap of the race at 2:02.854. McCoy qualified the Red Bull Yamaha third-fastest at 2:01.936 and finished third after battling with Rossi, who qualified fourth at 2:02.096.<BR><BR>Hopkins may test with the Red Bull team again following the Portugese Grand Prix at Estoril in early September.