San Marino GP: Kawasaki qualifying report

HOPKINS RUES LOST TRACK TIME AT MISANO Kawasaki's John Hopkins made a return to the track at the Misano circuit today following yesterday's absence through injury, and despite struggling to play catch up in the Adriatic coastal heat, ...

HOPKINS RUES LOST TRACK TIME AT MISANO

Kawasaki's John Hopkins made a return to the track at the Misano circuit today following yesterday's absence through injury, and despite struggling to play catch up in the Adriatic coastal heat, the Anglo-American is confident for tomorrow's San Marino Grand Prix.

Hopkins, who was ruled out of both of yesterday's practice sessions due to aggravating an injury to one of his intercostal muscles, suffered with front-end difficulties aboard his Ninja ZX-RR throughout both of today's sessions. The 25-year-old had just two hour-long stints to set his machine up for the San Marino track, which features many tight, bumpy sections.

Hopkins started the day with little data aboard his Kawasaki and this was evident as he looked to find a usable setting around the 4.20km circuit. The soaring temperatures caused the Anglo-American further complications in this afternoon's qualifying session, when the heat exacerbated the grip issues he was encountering, and he had little time to evaluate possible race tyre options for tomorrow's Grand Prix.

However, despite qualifying in 17th position, Hopkins is confident that he, along with his crew, can make further adjustments in warm-up tomorrow morning, which will put him in a stronger position for the race.

Anthony West saw a continuation of the troubles he came across in yesterday's practice and suffered with no confidence in the front-end of his machine throughout both of today's sessions. The 27-year-old Australian racer made radical changes to the set-up of his machine to improve the feedback from the front of the bike, but this brought no real joy, leaving him in 18th position on the grid.

West, although frustrated as he hoped to replicate his career best MotoGP weekend last time out, will review data overnight with his crew and look to make improvements ahead of tomorrow's 28-lap race.

John Hopkins - #21 - 17th - 1'35.980

"It's been a real task today as we've been on the back foot because I had to sit out practice yesterday. My rib injury is definitely improving and I feel much more comfortable on the bike, but a lack of time on track has caused us quite a headache. We've struggled mainly with the front-end of the machine and this track is completely different from Brno, so we had a lot of setting changes to make. I had to squeeze a lot into the two hours on track and we had to wait until the afternoon heat, which will be similar to that of the race, before we could try to find a useable race tyre. Then we had to fit in qualifying too, and our final position today reflects this. My crew chief has a lot of ideas about the areas we need to change and we will review the data overnight to see where we can make significant improvements during tomorrow's warm-up."

Anthony West - #13 - 18th - 1'37.047

"It's frustrating to come here after such a great weekend in Brno only to end up at the back of the field. We tried many different set-up changes to provide me with more confidence in the front of the bike, but nothing really brought much of an improvement. I can't brake hard into the turns, and this makes it difficult to put a fast lap together. We have to find an improvement overnight and I am sure that tomorrow's race will be tough, but we have to keep pushing forwards to achieve the results we have shown we are capable of."

Fanali - Hopkins' Crew Chief

"It's good that John's injury has improved, but it has been a real set back for us this weekend as we have lost two hours of valuable track time. We couldn't try a race tyre this morning because the temperature change for the afternoon was so great, it wouldn't have been a realistic evaluation. This left us with a lot of work to do in qualifying, and we came across a chatter problem in the front-end of his machine. We basically ran out of time to overcome this problem, as we also had to use a qualifying tyre to try and improve John's lap time. We will make some changes in tomorrow's warm-up after we've evaluated the data, and although our starting position is not so good, I am sure that we can make progress while improving our lap time during the race."

-credit: krt

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers John Hopkins , Anthony West