Italian GP: Kawasaki preview

KAWASAKI MOTIVATED FOR MUGELLO After the frustrations of the French Grand Prix at Le Mans just over a week week ago, Kawasaki's John Hopkins and Anthony West head this week for the Tuscan hills of Italy, and the picturesque circuit of Mugello,...

KAWASAKI MOTIVATED FOR MUGELLO

After the frustrations of the French Grand Prix at Le Mans just over a week week ago, Kawasaki's John Hopkins and Anthony West head this week for the Tuscan hills of Italy, and the picturesque circuit of Mugello, for the sixth round of the MotoGP world championship.

John Hopkins is looking to get his first season aboard Kawasaki's Ninja ZX-RR back on track, after a disappointing result in China and a retirement due to a mechanical problem last time out in France. The Anglo-American celebrated his 25th birthday on 22nd May, and is determined to award himself a belated birthday present with a strong result in Italy.

With six races packed into the next eight weeks, the Kawasaki pilot knows he has to be on the pace at Mugello, and then carry that momentum through until the summer break if he is to improve his position in the overall championship standings by the midway point of the season.

The Italian Grand Prix marks another first for Hopkins' Kawasaki teammate, Anthony West. The 26-year-old has never raced the Mugello circuit aboard a MotoGP machine before, and it's not a circuit he was particularly enamoured of during his 250cc racing days.

Typically, West is unfazed by the challenge ahead, and is focussed instead on working with his crew to eliminate some of the problems with rear traction that has held him back so far this season, and to reclaim his rightful place in the top ten.

One of the most picturesque circuits on the MotoGP calendar, the 5.245km Mugello track twists its way across two sides of a scenic valley, deep in the Tuscan hills above Scarperia. The circuit includes six left turns and nine rights in total, and regular changes of elevation. It features many fast chicanes, twisty sections and an incredibly long straight. The chicanes are taken at relatively high pace, and accuracy in a rider's lines is vital in the last sector to keep momentum up to the final turn, out of which the riders launch themselves onto the 1.141km main straight.

John Hopkins - Kawasaki MotoGP Pilot #21

"I was happy to leave Le Mans after a difficult weekend, and it's been good to spend some time at home, especially on my birthday. A lot of my friends flew out to see me and we had a good time relaxing, having fun on the beach, so I feel really good. I've been training hard and I'm looking forward to Mugello. We made some improvements at the test following the race in France, and now we have four races close together, so we need to make a good start to these. The next round is going to be a difficult task for us, but I'm confident we can bounce back from our disappointing results. We're one-hundred-percent fit, focussed and ready to take on the challenge in Italy"

Anthony West - Kawasaki MotoGP Pilot #13

"Le Mans was tough, but I got back to my new home in Belgium and tried to put it behind me by training even harder for Mugello. One of the good things about living so close to our team boss is that there is always one of his friends around to go training with, whether it be running, cycling or mountain biking. Ahead of the Italian Grand Prix I'm also going to head down to Austria to do some downhill mountain biking, so I'll be raring to go by the time I get to the track. The Mugello circuit is not one of my favourites, and I've never ridden a MotoGP bike there before, but with the information we gleaned from the post race test in France, I'm hopeful that we'll be able to make another big step forward this coming weekend."

-credit: krt

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers John Hopkins , Anthony West