DOUBLE BLOW FOR KAWASAKI IN ASSEN After the disappointment of the qualifying crash that sidelined John Hopkins, the Kawasaki Racing Team were dealt a double blow at Assen today when Anthony West crashed out of the Dutch TT just 7 laps into the...
DOUBLE BLOW FOR KAWASAKI IN ASSEN
After the disappointment of the qualifying crash that sidelined John Hopkins, the Kawasaki Racing Team were dealt a double blow at Assen today when Anthony West crashed out of the Dutch TT just 7 laps into the race.
The 26-year-old Kawasaki pilot got a good start from the sixth row of the grid, but lost contact with the group ahead of him after losing time avoiding Alex De Angelis, who highsided himself out the race on the opening lap, right in front of West's Ninja ZX-RR.
With his head down and his lap times the same as the riders battling for fourth place, West fought his way back to 11th position and was starting to close the gap to the group ahead of him. Another top ten finish looked a distinct possibility for the Kawasaki pilot, until he lost the front under braking for the right-hand corner at Stekkenwal and crashed out of the race.
With Hopkins already on his way back to America for further medical treatment by the time West lined up to start the 26-lap race, the Australian's premature exit marks the first time this season that a Kawasaki has not made it all the way to the chequered flag.
While obviously disappointed with today's result, West remains confident that the recent engine upgrades to his Ninja ZX-RR will allow him to make amends in the next race in Sachsenring, which takes place in just two weeks time.
Whether Kawasaki teammate Hopkins will be riding alongside West in Germany remains to be seen. The 25-year-old Anglo-American will undergo a bone scan in Los Angeles next week that should reveal more about his two tibia fractures and the crack in the lateral malleolus bone of his ankle, sustained when he collided with the tyre wall on the outside of the ultra-fast Ramshoek corner.
Only once the full extent of Hopkins' injuries are known will a decision be made as to whether he will rejoin West for the German Grand Prix in Sachsenring.
Anthony West: #13 - DNF
"I got a good start to the race, although it was difficult from so far back on the grid because the first turn is quite tight. I had made up a few places when Alex de Angelis highsided in front of me and I had to almost stop the machine to avoid hitting him. The bike was feeling good and in the next few laps I managed to pass a few people into 11th place. I was sure I could catch the group ahead of me and be well within the top ten, but we were lapping at a similar pace and with the incident at the start, I had to push just that little bit harder. Unfortunately I lost the front of the bike and crashed out, which is a real disappointment because we were quite strong today. The new engine upgrades have made a difference and we still have more grip than previously, despite struggling a little bit in places with cornering. We just need some luck on our side and, hopefully, we'll be fighting for good positions next time out at Sachsenring."
Bartholemy: Kawasaki Competition Manager
"We've made a lot of improvements this weekend, so it is quite disheartening to come away with no points. John's injuries from the crash yesterday ruled him out of the race, so all of our hopes were on Anthony, who I felt sure was capable of repeating his top-ten Donington success. The incident at turn one left him quite a long way back, but he rode hard to pass a few people into 11th place, and was catching the group ahead of him. His lap times were consistently fast and it's a real frustration because with the upgrades we've made this weekend, he was very capable of achieving a good result. We now have to focus on taking advantage of the developments we've made at the next round."