2008-02-18 09:57
Kawasaki's John Hopkins and Anthony West concluded the three-day IRTA test at a blustery, but dry Jerez circuit today with encouraging results, as both riders continued to improve the set-up of their Ninja ZX-RR machines.

West finished the test reasonably satisfied with 12th position, after making significant steps forward with the set-up of his machine. The 26-year-old Australian concentrated on improving the handling and cornering of his bike and he, along with his crew, has found a front-end setting that has given him much more confidence around the technical Jerez circuit.

West also carried out an evaluation of qualifying tyres supplied by Bridgestone, whilst spending most of the day in the top five, completing a total of 63 laps of the 4.423km Spanish circuit. The Kawasaki rider concluded the day with a fastest time of 1:41.026.

Hopkins completed the test with a run out on circuit this morning to finalise his clutch set-up. The Anglo-American completed a total of 20 laps, posting a best time of 1:42.970. Hopkins decided to stay off the track during the afternoon, as riding in the rain yesterday has caused some aggravation to the injury the 24-year-old sustained at Philip Island in pre-season testing.

Hopkins will now return home to receive ultra-sound treatment on the torn abductor in his groin and focus on regaining strength in the injured muscle ahead of the Qatar test in just over a week's time.

Kawasaki Technical Manager, Naoya Kaneko, declared himself pleased with today's proceedings and is confident that the team now have a clear direction for the final pre-season test at the Losail International circuit in Doha, Qatar.

Anthony West: 12th - 63 Laps - 1:41.026
"We've mainly worked on the handling and the steering of the bike today. We've made a big step forward in the front-end set-up and I feel a lot more confident, although there is still room for further improvement. We have also tested some qualifying tyres from Bridgestone that I have never used before and the results were promising, I am sure that given more time using them we could have gone even faster. We finished off the test with a 10-lap run to see what the tyre performance is like towards the middle of race distance and we found more consistency than with the previous tyres we have used. We now have a plan to fine-tune the set-up with what we have learned here in Jerez and I will return home to continue with my training programme before heading to the last pre-season test in Qatar."

John Hopkins: 18th - 20 Laps -1:42.970
"Today we used the dry track time to warm up the clutch and try some practice starts, as we don't have much time to do this before the first race. Riding in the rain yesterday took its toll on my injury and today I have definitely felt the effects. With our focus firmly on the first race, we decided it wasn't necessary to go out on circuit this afternoon. I am flying home tomorrow to immediately have as much therapy and ultra-sound treatment as possible to maximise my recovery."

Naoya Kaneko: Kawasaki Technical Manager
"Today everything has gone well for us despite losing some track time this morning because of the weather conditions. Unfortunately John could only test a few parts due to his injury, but we have found some direction for our development ahead of the first race. With Anthony we tested some qualifying tyres, and we have worked particularly on his chassis set-up. We found a combination of components and settings that worked positively for us, which we will continue to work on. We now go to the final test, where we will concentrate on optimising the overall package to be as competitive as possible at the opening race of the season."

Test Times:
1. Nicky Hayden (USA) Repsol Honda Team 1'38.848; 2. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Fiat Yamaha +0.404; 3. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) JIR Team Scott +0.465; 4. Randy De Puniet (FRA) Honda LCR +0.503; 5. Valentino Rossi (46) Fiat Yamaha +0.720; 6. James Toseland (GBR) Yamaha Tech 3 +0.879; 7. Casey Stoner (AUS) Ducati Marlboro Team +0.997; 8. Alex De Angelis (RSM) Honda Gresini +1.084; 9. Shinya Nakano (JPN) Honda Gresini +1.485; 10. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP +1.594; 11. Chris Vermeulen (AUS) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP +1.728; 12. Anthony West (AUS) Kawasaki Racing Team +2.178; 18. John Hopkins (USA) Kawasaki Racing Team +4.122

Source: Kawasaki Racing Team Press Office

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