Portuguese GP: Kawasaki race report

HOPKINS ON A HIGH AFTER ESTORIL The Portuguese Grand Prix took place today at Estoril and Kawasaki rider, John Hopkins, claimed his best ever finish at the circuit. The 24-year-old Anglo American rode over the line in fifth position after...

HOPKINS ON A HIGH AFTER ESTORIL

The Portuguese Grand Prix took place today at Estoril and Kawasaki rider, John Hopkins, claimed his best ever finish at the circuit. The 24-year-old Anglo American rode over the line in fifth position after 28 laps, giving him his first top five position at Estoril, which is famously hard on bikes, riders and tyres.

However, Hopkins, his Ninja ZX-RR and the Bridgestone rubber he was running, all held up against the violent assault of the gruelling race. His ride also provided him with his best finish so far since joining Kawasaki, beating his previous highest placing, a seventh, at Jerez last month.

Meanwhile, team mate Anthony West, fared less well, passing the chequered flag in a disappointing 16th position after struggling to find his form. He will now aim to up his game and claim some much-needed points in the forthcoming rounds after further testing at Estoril tomorrow.

The next race is at Shanghai in two weeks' time. It will be Hopkins' centenary round in MotoGP so with that to celebrate, and buoyed by today's excellent result, he will no doubt be looking to emulate his podium finish at the Chinese circuit last year. But on a green bike this time!

Hopkins: 5th Position

"I'm really pleased as my aim was for a top five finish today. I got a really good start and the first lap was quite frantic as I went around the outside of a few riders, before settling into a rhythm with the leading pack. There was a bit of rain to contend with in the opening laps and I made some small mistakes, which caused me to drop back a little. Around halfway, the grip level dropped but I raced as hard as possible as Casey Stoner was closing the gap between us. Our main area to improve on is qualifying, as we keep giving ourselves a lot of work to do in the race by having a poor grid position. I'm looking forward to Shanghai: the Kawasaki will be better suited to it and we can hopefully achieve an even stronger result there."

West: 16th Position

"What can I say about today that the result doesn't already say for me? It would be easy to say I'm disappointed but, if I'm completely honest, the main feeling is one of intense frustration. I just can't seem to get the bike to work for me; all weekend it's felt nervous and it's constantly moving around. I can ride round the problems on the straights and into the turns but I'm losing massive amounts of time on the exit, where the bike feels like it's going to throw me off if I so much as touch the throttle. John doesn't seem to have the same problem, which just makes it doubly frustrating. We'll aim to find a solution during testing tomorrow, because I'm not here to run around at the back of the field."

Bbartholemy: Kawasaki Competition Manager

"To finish fifth here is superb as Estoril is not a place we've been particularly strong at in the past. John rode a fantastic race and he was also the second Bridgestone rider to cross the line. Now I hope we can continue to move forward at the next race, where the track is more suited to our Ninja ZX-RR and our Bridgestone tyres. I had hoped for a better result from Anthony. Normally he's able to turn it on in the race and improve on both his practice and qualifying performance, but it just didn't happen for him today. We need to find the root cause of his problems, and then come up with a solution, because the current situation isn't good for him and it isn't good for Kawasaki."

-credit: kawasaki

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers John Hopkins , Anthony West , Casey Stoner