Qatar Welcomes The First Official MOTOGP Test of 2007 The Kawasaki Racing Team resumed their intensive pre-season test schedule with the first of three days of testing at the Losail International Circuit on the outskirts of Doha in Qatar. This...
Qatar Welcomes The First Official MOTOGP Test of 2007
The Kawasaki Racing Team resumed their intensive pre-season test schedule with the first of three days of testing at the Losail International Circuit on the outskirts of Doha in Qatar.
This official test is the first at which all the MotoGP teams and riders have participated, providing everyone with the perfect opportunity to compare progress with their rivals. This is of particular importance for Kawasaki with their new Ninja ZX-RR, as the previous incarnation of their MotoGP racer was not well suited to the Qatar circuit.
After two productive tests in Malaysia, Randy de Puniet and Olivier Jacque were quickly up to speed in Qatar today, as they continued to work on refining the set-up of their Ninja ZX-RR machines. The focus throughout the three-day test will be on identifying the best set-up and race tyre combination for when they return to Qatar for the opening race of the season in three weeks time.
Randy de Puniet and his crew had to overcome minor chatter problems at the start of today's test, but this was successfully dialled out with slight modifications to set-up. After the compulsory midday break, the 25-year-old Frenchman continued with his planned test schedule, finishing with a best time of 1'57.73s after completing 88 laps of the 5.380 km Losail circuit.
Olivier Jacque also spent today working on refining the set-up of his Ninja ZX-RR. Unfortunately, the 33-year-old Frenchman was forced to cut short the opening day of testing after 67 laps, when he banged his head in a crash at turn two and was forced to go to hospital for observation.
Apart from the sore head Jacque was uninjured, but a decision as to whether the Frenchman will continue testing tomorrow will be delayed until his condition has been fully assessed.
Randy de Puniet: 88 Laps - Best Lap 1'57.73
"It was a good test. We focused on working on the set up this morning before doing some rear tyre testing for Bridgestone in the afternoon. The objective is to find a good tyre for the first race of the season, but for this moment we don't know yet which tyre will we going to use neither for the race, nor for tomorrow's race simulation. We still have some more tyres to try though. Tyre endurance is essential here and tomorrow we will check it. We also need to improve the setting as we have mainly focused on tyres today. We have to improve all the set up but mainly front suspension in order to gain more corner speed. I'm pretty fast at the fastest parts of the track but I need to improve on the first part. Today it's been the first day and I'm sure tomorrow I will be able to improve my lap times."
Naoya Kaneko: Technical Manager
"Overall, our objective was finding a good base set up for the first Grand Prix of the year, which will take place here in less than a month. Basically, we started with the best set up that we had from Sepang. First, we confirmed some of the basic set up and then did small modifications to adapt it to Losail, which is also a fast track. We worked as well on tyre choice, which will be very important as well. We worked really close with Bridgestone to find the best tyre to optimize our package. Tyre life is critical here. Apart from that, I'm not worried about lap times because they will come when we find the best set up. We understood from the last test that for us it is more important to focus on tyre life to be able to perform consistently for 22 laps, a race length. At the moment, a couple of the tyres we tried have potential but we need to confirm it tomorrow. First day is still too early to draw conclusions. Especially at this track which is not in perfect conditions yet."