Hopper takes pole!! - Chicagoland Sportbikes
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-23-2006, 02:33 PM Thread Starter
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Hopper takes pole!!

It seems that Suzuki and John Hopkins have made huge strides in the last month...Hopper's finally on top of the time sheets...i'm happy for the guy, i think he's the best pure talent on the grid in as far as the younger group.

MotoGP: Assen Qualifying
By Bart Madson

John Hopkins was able to beat out fellow front-row starters, Shinya Nakano and Colin Edwards, to claim his first-ever pole position victory in MotoGP during the hour-long qualifying session at Assen. The unexpected good fortune of the front trio was contrasted by the bad luck looming around usual top qualifiers Valentino Rossi and Loris Capirossi, who finished a respective 15th and 18th, held back by injuries.

Rossi had to discontinue qualifying after 14 laps because the pain from his wrist fracture was too much. The Doctor's decision to race tomorrow will be made by, well, a doctor and Rossi himself. Given the fact that his best lap was four seconds off the pole position pace and he was forced to quit after 14 laps, the chances of Rossi being competitive in the 26-lap Saturday race, all while starting from the back, are looking remote. Sharing a similar fate, Loris Capirossi is battling pain in his chest, with the Ducati rider describing the sensation from a bump while riding "feels like the stab of a knife." However, it sounds like the pain will not deter the stout-hearted Italian rider from running for some points on Saturday.

"This is a bad moment for me, without last Sunday's crash I could have arrived here leading the championship," said Capirossi." It's a real pity I got hurt at the start of a run of three back-to-back races, but that's racing. Maybe my determination to never give up is what's getting me through this. I want to race tomorrow to score some points because you can win or lose a championship by a single point and there's still plenty of the season ahead of us."

All injuries to championship contenders aside, the spotlight should not get taken away from the first-ever pole position for long-suffering Suzuki rider John Hopkins. He has been close many times, and rode through some disappointment this season, so a pole victory is well deserved.

"It's a huge weight off our shoulders - getting this pole position out of the way - now we have to concentrate on the 26-laps tomorrow," said Hopkins. "I am feeling good about the whole situation. My thanks go to the crew, to Bridgestone for some awesome tires and to Suzuki for improving their level so much, everything seems to be coming together and we are looking forward to tomorrow."

Hopkins' triumph came at the expense of Kawasaki's Nakano, who, had he been the faster, would have notched his first-ever pole as well. Joining the two Bridgestone-equipped riders on the front row is Camel Yamaha's Colin Edwards, who was fastest during yesterday and this mornings practice sessions. The Texan's ferocious pace on race tires throughout practice bodes for a momentous finish on Saturday.

Leading the second row, Nicky Hayden is followed by Respsol teammate Dani Pedrosa and Suzuki's Chris Vermeulen. Hayden is well positioned to move up and snag his first non-Laguna MotoGP win, now that his main championship rivals are limping along far off the pace. Assen could be the hammer blow in the Kentucky Kids 2006 championship campaign.

While the prognosis of Rossi and Capirossi's injuries have gone from bad to worse, the also-injured Marco Melandri is plugging away and will start Assen leading the third row. Tech 3 Yamaha's Carlos Checa qualified eighth-fastest with Sete Gibernau's fill-in, Alex Hofmann, marking an impressive ninth-fastest performance. Not bad for the German, considering yesterday was his first opportunity to ride the Bridgestone-shod GP6.

Seasoned veteran Kenny Roberts Junior leads the fourth row starters, joined by two rookies, Kawasaki's Randy de Puniet and LCR Honda's Casey Stoner. Junior was a little over a second off his former teammate's leading pace and Team Roberts' sole rider will be hard-pressed to repeat last week's podium result tomorrow. Casey Stoner's start in 12th won't give him the best opportunity to challenge for the win either, but the Australian rider should be more worried about avoiding the big sombrero with three strikeouts in a row. On Saturday we will see in if the LCR Honda rider can put the kibosh on his two-race DNF streak.

MotoGP Assen Qualifying Results:
1 John Hopkins (USA) Rizla Suzuki 1'36.411
2 Shinya Nakano (JPN) Kawasaki 1'36.424
3 Colin Edwards (USA) Camel Yamaha 1'36.755
4 Nicky Hayden (USA) Repsol Honda 1'36.758
5 Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda 1'36.993
6 Chris Vermeulen (AUS) Rizla Suzuki 1'37.077
7 Marco Melandri (ITA) Fortuna Honda 1'37.332
8 Carlos Checa (SPA) Tech 3 Yamaha 1'37.378 29
9 Alex Hofmann (GER) Ducati Marlboro 1'37.399
10 Kenny Roberts Junior (USA) Team Roberts 1'37.528
11 Randy de Puniet (FRA) Kawasaki 1'37.556
12 Casey Stoner (AUS) Honda LCR 1'37.660
13 Makoto Tamada (JPN) Konica Minolta Honda 1'37.676
14 James Ellison (GBR) Tech 3 Yamaha 38.055
15 Loris Capirossi (ITA) Ducati Marlboro 1'38.060
16 Jose Luis Cardoso (SPA) Pramac d'Antin 1'39.406
17 Ivan Silva (SPA) Pramac d'Antin 1'39.496
18 Valentino Rossi (ITA) Camel Yamaha 1'40.298


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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-23-2006, 02:42 PM
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Fuck YEAH!!! I'm happy about this...Hopper is the hardest working guy out there...Now podium finish...that will make my week.

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-23-2006, 02:59 PM
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-23-2006, 04:12 PM
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About time.. Makes you wonder what he could do on a Honda or Ducati..

Too bad for Rossi, he was so close to making a comeback. The cards may be there for Hayden. The way things are unfolding, with Capirossi and Rossi injured with there being 4 races in succession, if he doesn't win the champoinship this year, he'll never do it..

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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-23-2006, 05:01 PM
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Rossi's not out yet. I can still win the last batch of races and win the championship.

That said, I'm still to keep pulling for Hayden to take the cup this year.

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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-23-2006, 07:07 PM
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awesome !!!

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