Hopper,Cogger and RossigateTue, 05 Apr 2011
Rizla Suzuki welcomed back John Hopkins to Jerez and by the end of day one the American was posting some very respectable lap times. To me it seems like yesterday, but it was way back in 2007 when he last rode for the British based team ending the season 4th in the World Championship. The dry qualifying went well but he wasn’t too upset when it rained on race day as he admitted to not being bike fit and would have struggled to maintain a fast dry race pace. Team manager Paul Denning was more than happy with his performance however, and reckons the new more mature Hopper could still easily cut it in Moto GP. His solid 10th place finish was just what the team wanted and surely his riding skills will be suitably sharpened for the BSB opener at Brands later this month.
Spanish based Scot Kev Coghlan has been beavering away under the radar trying hard to get his FTR Moto 2 machine up to speed. His 8th place finish in the rain was a much needed boost for the Aeroport Castello team as they qualified way down in 24th position. Wet conditions can often mask dry set up issues so I hope the 2009 Spanish Supersport champ now has the British built FTR fine tuned for Estoril in three weeks time.
You’ve probably never heard of German, Pillipp Oettl but remember his name as he did an amazing job in both the Red Bull Rookies Cup races in Jerez. He is the fourteen year old son of five times GP winner Peter Oettl and is now leading the Rookies Championship after 1st and 2nd places at the weekend. Like his father he is the perfect size for a 125 and undoubtedly a star of the future. You can’t help feeling sorry for the Spanish riders in the 125 GP class. One third of the 125cc grid is made up of Spaniards but they have four home Grand Prix during the season and enormous pressure to deliver a result.
The tricky conditions at Jerez added to this causing a few of the front runners to fall elevating Danny Kent and Taylor Mackenzie to 4th and 5th respectively at the chequered flag. Well done lads, you have to be in it to win it! There is much will he make it, won’t he make it paddock chatter about Cal Crutchlow at the moment but all we need is patience.
By mid race (and at a new track) I was looking at his name in 5th place on the TV monitor, it’s only a matter of time folks. And finally, after the Sunday’s Moto GP race many were asking if nine times world champion Valentino Rossi had lost his talent, gone slightly mental and if he needs to be sectioned? Probably not, it was one racer attempting to pass another, that's what they do.
By Niall Mackenzie
See also: Video: The nastiest Suzuki in the whole range, Donington Park and the Roman rebel., Max Biaggi loses the plot . . and very nearly his teeth !.