San Marino GP: Kawasaki preview

CONFIDENT KAWASAKI HEAD FOR MISANO Kawasaki's Anthony West and John Hopkins head for the Republic of San Marino and the Misano circuit for round 13 of the MotoGP World Championship in confident mood, after improvements to the Ninja ZX-RR led to...

CONFIDENT KAWASAKI HEAD FOR MISANO

Kawasaki's Anthony West and John Hopkins head for the Republic of San Marino and the Misano circuit for round 13 of the MotoGP World Championship in confident mood, after improvements to the Ninja ZX-RR led to a strong showing by both riders last time out at Brno.

Anthony West secured a career best finish with fifth place in the Czech Republic Grand Prix, and after making further steps forward with the set-up of his Ninja ZX-RR during the post race test at the Brno circuit, the 27-year-old Kawasaki pilot heads for Misano determined to continue his run of form into this weekend's Grand Prix Di San Marino E Della Riviera Di Rimini.

Although not one of his favourite circuits, the Misano track has proved a happy hunting ground for West in the past. In 2007 the Australian took victory in the first World Supersport race at the revamped circuit, before joining the Kawasaki Racing Team and returning to the Republic of San Marino to take a hard fought eighth place finish in last year's MotoGP race. West returns to Misano this year determined to finish top ten once again.

John Hopkins looked like a likely candidate for a podium finish after qualifying on the front row and then making a strong start in the Czech Republic Grand Prix less than one week ago. Unfortunately for the Anglo-American, a gamble on tyres didn't pay off and, after running at the front up to the halfway point, Hopkins was forced to drop back to finish 11th at the flag after struggling with rear traction.

The 25-year-old Kawasaki pilot sat out the two-day, post race test at Brno due to a minor, but painful, rib injury sustained in a practice crash. Now fully fit once again, Hopkins is confident that the upgrades to his Ninja ZX-RR made ahead of the Brno race will give him the competitive package he needs to fight for his, so far elusive, first podium finish for Kawasaki this weekend in San Marino.

The Misano circuit features many fast-flowing sections along with slower combinations that test machine and rider skill to the maximum. The track is incredibly bumpy in places, and with the sometimes stifling heat of the Adriatic coast, a good tyre choice for durability throughout the race will be an essential factor. The MotoGP weekend always has an electric atmosphere, generated by the passionate Italian fans that venture to see the racing action in their thousands.

Anthony West - Kawasaki MotoGP Pilot #13

"I am looking forward to going to Misano following my best ever result in MotoGP last time out at Brno. We had a positive post-race test there, and we managed to make further improvements to the bike, which has certainly made it easier to ride. I hope that we can continue with our development this weekend because I am determined for us to be fighting for more strong results in the dry. I have spent the last few days in Italy, where I've been out cycling, so I feel relaxed and ready to take on the challenge. There's a good atmosphere at this circuit, but after last year's washout on the opening practice day, the weather could play a really big part in proceedings."

John Hopkins - Kawasaki MotoGP Pilot #21

"We had a positive weekend in Brno following my return to the track after a long absence through injury and we managed to put the Kawasaki on the front row. Although I didn't quite achieve the result we were hoping for, Anthony got into the top five, which just shows that the Kawasaki is improving all of the time and is capable of gaining good results. I really enjoy the Misano circuit, I managed to get on the podium there last year so it's certainly a track I like. I've spent the last week in Miami resting and training just to give the injuries that I am still carrying the best possible time to recuperate, so I'm feeling stronger and ready to achieve the results we are more than capable of."

-credit: krt

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers John Hopkins , Anthony West