The Tommy Hill ePayMe Yamaha Team haven’t had an easy time of things this year, with a Yamaha that is technically demanding, a rider line-up that has changed due to injury and what not and also because the competition level is so high in BSB. However, with former GP star John Hopkins at the helm of one of the R1s, could we be set to see their best in the closing stages of this year’s championship?
It was annoying at Knockhill. Hopper was finally showing the form we all know he has when he chucked his bike at the scenery and gave himself the power of no good by injuring himself. Broc Parkes came in as a replacement and did rather well considering he struggled on the same bike last season. Sadly, Broc went to carry on with the endurance team, leaving Tommy with Stuart Easton, who had been struggling to get to the sharp end. After the Brands Hatch round, Easton vacated the seat and the most recent pilot of the bike was Howie Mainwaring-Smart. But with John Hopkins back to full fitness, could the Yamaha hold the key to causing an upset in the showdown.
Now I know that neither Yamaha bike can actually reach the showdown but my point is, if Hopkins can get the bike working then we know he will be up the sharp end, thus taking points off riders who are vying for the championship and/or a final showdown spot. John’s talents haven’t just gone. He is a top class rider; he’s battled with his team boss for the championship as well as pushed Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner to their best too. The only thing that John needs is a bit of confidence, and one good result could be the thing that triggers all that.
On the other side of the garage, it’s impossible to say who or what will do well. Easton struggled, as did Mainwaring-Smart, albeit at probably the worst circuit to come in as a replacement, but Broc Parkes’ style just seemed to gel with the bike. I believe that if Parkes was to sign off the season with the team, then there would be no reason why they can’t take podiums. This in turn means that they really could be the ones that spoil someone’s party at the end of the year. I really think that the ePayMe Yamaha team could hold a very valuable key to the championship, as well as other factors coming into play too.
And if you want another reason why I think it could work out well for the team, then here is one: Tommy Hill. The former BSB champion doesn’t only have a wealth of experience in racing motorcycles, but he can relate to exactly how the riders are feeling when things aren’t going their way. This means that he has an understanding that is rare for many teams. On top of that, he is a decent bloke and a very well respected figure in the BSB paddock, so as well as being approachable to his riders, he’s approachable by fans. And all that creates a good team. And when a team is working well, results start coming and I sincerely believe they will start coming, and very, very soon.
Thanks as always to our photographer Gareth Davies, as without him, our articles would be far more boring and a lot less colourful! You can keep up with all his work on Facebook. You can keep up with me on Twitter, @MotoGPKiko and also follow our main account @PitCrew_Online.