World Supersport300 rider Luke Hopkins from Kent got his season off to a positive Start at the Motorland circuit in Aragon.
The 15-year-old from Sittingbourne was runner-up in the Team Green Junior Cup last year on his Kawasaki Ninja 300, in just his second season of racing bikes. This season he has taken a giant step up to the World Supersport300 series riding against ex-MotoGP riders such as Scott Deroue and Ana Carrasco.
Learning a new track and competing against a world class field Hopkins registered a lap time of 2:20.711 in the first free practice session. The second session took place after a short thunderstorm leaving the track wet in some places. The result was the riders were unable to improve on their lap times.
On Saturday Hopkins took part in Superpole one and continued to improve his lap times. He finished the session 2:19.479 registering his fastest time just as the chequered flag for the session came out. He qualified 32nd out of 37 riders, three of which failed to make the grid.
Hopkins had to wait until after lunch on Sunday for the first ever World Supersport 300 race. The 11 lap race at Motorland Aragon circuit took place in very windy conditions. Immediately Hopkins made progress making up one place by the end of the first lap.
After five laps Hopkins made further progress as he crossed the line in 28th position. Continuing to keep his head down and push on Hopkins began to close down an Italian rider in front of him. Managing to cut a substantial gap between him and the rider he finally overtook him with two laps to go.
Luke Hopkins finished his first ever World Supersport 300 Championship race in a fantastic 22nd place and set his fastest lap time of the weekend with a 2:17.981.
Luke Hopkins said, “The experience was incredible. Although I wasn’t racing at the front like last year I am learning so much racing against this calibre of rider. We made a small change to the bike set-up from yesterday and although we didn’t have a warm up to test it, the result was good. I must thank my sponsors for enabling me to be here and of course my family who are always fantastic support.”
Luke Hopkins next race will be in the Hel Performance Motostar British Championship where he will ride a Moto3 in the standard class at brands Hatch Indy on 15th to 17th April.
Image: Ron Askey Photography