British GP: Kawasaki Racing Team preview

NEW LOOK KAWASAKI READY TO HIT DONINGTON This weekend sees the return of the MotoGP series to the UK for the Nickel and Dime British Grand Prix at Donington Park. The Kawasaki squad, represented by Randy de Puniet and new teammate, Anthony West,...

NEW LOOK KAWASAKI READY TO HIT DONINGTON

This weekend sees the return of the MotoGP series to the UK for the Nickel and Dime British Grand Prix at Donington Park. The Kawasaki squad, represented by Randy de Puniet and new teammate, Anthony West, will be there to continue the offensive in what is proving to be a very exciting season indeed.

De Puniet is nearly fully recovered from the accident at Le Mans, which caused his knee to swell dramatically and painfully. His gutsy ride at Catalunya saw him claim fifth place, his best ever finish in a MotoGP race, despite the injury. He is now back to around 80% fitness and keen to prove he can put in another impressive performance. Having won at Donington in the 250cc class in 2005 and, with ever increasing confidence in his bike and Bridgestone tyres, he knows he's got what it takes to secure a good run at the Midlands circuit, as long as his knee holds out.

Meanwhile, Anthony West will make his MotoGP debut aboard the Ninja ZX-RR this weekend, completing the rider line up. The 25-year-old Australian has joined the team as a replacement for Olivier Jacque who, in agreement with Kawasaki, is standing aside for a younger rider whilst maintaining a vital role, testing and developing the bike for Kawasaki.

Gaining spectacular results in the World Supersport championship as a stand in rider over the past month, West, who has primarily raced 250cc machines, raised eyebrows after claiming one third place and two wins in just three races on an unfamiliar motorcycle.

West rode the 800cc Kawasaki MotoGP racer during a one-day test at Catalunya after the last Grand Prix. Other than that, his first real chance to show what he can do on the machine will come in Friday's first free practice session. Still swaying from the unexpected invitation, he's delighted to have joined the factory team and looks forward to making his mark on the premier class.

Donington Park provides a spectacular backdrop to motorcycle racing. A natural amphitheatre, the 2.5 mile/4.023km circuit consists of fast, flowing sections combined with hard braking and ever-tightening corners. In other words, it has plenty of everything and will test each rider, and their bike, to the maximum. With the ZX-RR increasingly competitive, the new-look Kawasaki team are looking forward with confidence to facing the challenges both of this weekend and the rest of the season to come.

De Puniet
Kawasaki MotoGP Pilot #14

"I'm feeling ok about this weekend and I hope to do at least as well as we did in Barcelona. My knee is much better than it was after it was drained last week, not perfect yet though, and my shoulder still isn't moving properly, so I'm not 100% fit yet and haven't been able to do any training for a month. I like Donington except, perhaps, for the last two corners! I won here in 2005 on the 250 and did ok last year so yes, I'm confident after the race in Spain, feeling pretty good and hoping to do well this weekend too."

West:
Kawasaki MotoGP Pilot #13

"Naturally, I'm feeling a bit nervous. I haven't done many laps on the bike and this is MotoGP so it's going to be very different to anything I've raced before. I don't know what to expect at the moment, I just want to finish the race and not crash. It would be great to come in the top ten but I don't know if it's really possible or not: I've never raced against these guys before. I'm feeling confident, though, and I'm glad I've been riding 600s recently as it would have been even more difficult coming here straight from 250s. I like this circuit, and the team really seem to know what they're doing, so I'm sure they'll find a good set up to start me off and we'll take it from there."

-credit: kawasaki

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Olivier Jacque , Randy de Puniet , Anthony West