A HARD TEST DAY FOR KAWASAKI IN QATAR2007-02-14 10:00
The Kawasaki Racing Team were back in action today for the second day of testing at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar, but with only one of their two riders on track.
Olivier Jacque was forced to sit out today's test due to still suffering the effects of his turn two crash yesterday. The 33-year-old Frenchman was passed fit to ride, but opted to take a recovery day today, before returning to the track in better physical condition tomorrow.
With his teammate sidelined, Randy de Puniet continued to refine the set-up of his Ninja ZX-RR, as he evaluated race tyre options from Bridgestone. In the process the Kawasaki rider, who celebrated his 26th birthday today, managed to cut half a second from his best time of yesterday, posting a fastest lap of 1'57.288s.
De Puniet completed 54 laps of the Qatar circuit today, with 22 of them completed during a race distance simulation to test rear tyre endurance.
The 26-year-old Frenchman is happy with his front race tyre choice, should conditions be the same when he returns for the first race in less than a months time, but will continue testing rear race tyres during the final day at the circuit tomorrow.
The only problem on another successful day of testing for Kawasaki came when de Puniet crashed at turn eight after being caught out by gusting winds. The Kawasaki pilot was uninjured in the crash, and returned to the track aboard his spare Ninja ZX-RR when testing resumed after the compulsory lunch break.
Randy de Puniet: 54 Laps - Best Lap 1'57.288
"Today we got on with the tyre testing we had planned, working our way through different options on both the front and rear of the bike. Bridgestone have done a great job, and we think we've identified a suitable front tyre for the race should conditions be the same here next month. I did a race distance run this afternoon to evaluate tyre endurance, and tomorrow we will try even more rear tyre options from Bridgestone. If we can end this test with a race tyre for front and rear then I'll be happy. The bike felt better today, and I'd already improved my lap time before lunch. But then I crashed in turn eight; I'm not completely sure why, but it felt like the wind pushed me wide, and I lost the front trying to regain the right line. I was unhurt, but the bike was a wreck! I'm happy with the improvement in consistency today, but there is still room for improvement tomorrow."
Olivier Jacque: #19
"Today I feel much better than I did immediately after the crash yesterday, but I still feel pretty sore. I wanted to ride, but after the medical check up this morning we made the decision to sit out today's test, instead of risking further injury and a longer delay. I'm sorry for the team, because I know how much work we need to do before the start of the season, but I hope we can catch up on our test schedule tomorrow."
Naoya Kaneko: Technical Manager
"Randy's crash was unfortunate, but the important thing was that he was uninjured and it didn't delay our planned test programme for today. Our overall assessment of today is positive. Our target was to evaluate a range of different tyre options and also to improve the set-up of the bike. Randy did a split run of 22 laps and found some consistency, although we haven't yet identified a suitable rear tyre for the opening race of the season. For this reason we will focus tomorrow on evaluating more rear tyres, following a special programme provided by Bridgestone. I'm confident we'll end the test with a good idea of the tyres we will need for the race here. It's a pity Olivier couldn't ride today, but the season hasn't started yet so it would have been pointless to take any risks. He will almost certainly be back tomorrow, so the delay to our test schedule is not so great."
Source: Kawasaki Racing Team Press Office
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