HOPKINS RIDES THROUGH THE PAIN BARRIER AT JEREZ2008-02-16 07:18
After a successful team launch yesterday evening, the Kawasaki Racing Team got down to work proper today, during the first of three days of testing at the Jerez circuit in southern Spain.
For John Hopkins today marked his first outing on Kawasaki's Ninja ZX-RR since the turn one highside that prematurely ended his pre-season test at Phillip Island less than three weeks ago. The crash left the Anglo-American with a badly torn abductor muscle in his groin, which continued to cause Hopkins discomfort on the bike during today's test.
Hopkins managed to work his way through a short test programme to evaluate new components on his Ninja ZX-RR, but called it a day after riding through the pain barrier to complete 29 laps of the 4.423km Jerez circuit.
The 24-year-old Kawasaki rider will continue testing tomorrow, but with his focus now on regaining full fitness in time for the opening race in Qatar, will stop should the injury continue to cause him problems on the bike.
With his teammate still suffering with the effects of his injury, Anthony West shouldered the tyre testing duties for the Kawasaki Racing Team today. The 26-year-old Australian completed a total of 84 laps, as he worked to evaluate a range of new tyres brought to the test by Kawasaki's tyre partner, Bridgestone.
West will focus tomorrow on refining the set-up of his Ninja ZX-RR further, working with his crew to improve both the braking stability and agility of his machine.
Kawasaki's Technical Manager, Naoya Kaneko, is positive that, despite Hopkins's injury, the Kawasaki Racing team has made big steps forward with the machine set-up today but the aim remains to strengthen the overall package prior to the season opener.
Anthony West: 15th - 84 Laps - 1:41.821
"This morning we managed to make some small improvements to the set-up of the bike here at Jerez, before switching our attention to tyre testing for Bridgestone. We tested a number of new tyre combinations, with positive results, and I'm sure the data we collected will prove useful to Bridgestone's development process. Tomorrow we will return to fine-tuning the bike for the characteristics of the Jerez circuit, which is very different in character to Sepang and Phillip Island. With John being injured we have many settings to try and we want to make the best use of the track time so we can be in contention right from the first race."
John Hopkins: 16th - 29 Laps - 1:41.901
"The injury has caused me a few more problems than I was expecting today and it's still quite painful. My main aim has to be to regain full fitness for the first race, so although I will definitely continue testing tomorrow, it may be that we call it a day early if the injury continues to be a problem. It's definitely been a case of riding through the pain barrier today, but I don't want to jeopardise the recovery process by pushing too hard too soon. On a more positive note we did manage to test some parts today, we'll just have to see how the injury feels before we make a decision on what to do next."
Naoya Kaneko: Kawasaki Technical Manager
"Today Anthony completed a tyre evaluation and we collected some good development data for Bridgestone. We have done a lot of work with the balance of the machine, mainly working with the suspension and, although we still have some work to do to make machine more stable, we are making good progress. We are not 100% where we'd like to be yet, but we also have some new components to test for improving engine performance of the machine. Our target at the moment is to have better turning and to have a better overall package for the first race. With John's injury it's difficult to see where we're at, but sometimes we face these problems in racing; for us it's important that he is fit for the first race and I am not worried about machine set-up so much for him."
1. Nicky Hayden (USA) Repsol Honda Team 1'39.200; 2. Randy De Puniet (FRA) Honda LCR +1.023; 3. Valentino Rossi (46) Fiat Yamaha +1.441; 4. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) JIR Team Scott +1.567; 5. James Toseland (GBR) Yamaha Tech 3 +1.568; 6. Casey Stoner (AUS) Ducati Marlboro Team +1.622; 7. Colin Edwards (USA) Yamaha Tech 3 +1.745; 8. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Fiat Yamaha +1.858; 9. Alex De Angelis (RSM) Honda Gresini +1.970; 10. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda Team +2.152; 11. Shinya Nakano (JPN) Honda Gresini +2.235; 15. Anthony West (AUS) Kawasaki Racing Team +2.621; 16. John Hopkins (USA) Kawasaki Racing Team +2.701
Source: Kawasaki Racing Team Press Office
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