TOUGH START TO LAGUNA WEEKEND FOR KAWASAKI The Kawasaki Racing Team endured a difficult opening day at Laguna Seca, but Jamie Hacking and Anthony West remain confident of significant improvements tomorrow, once their respective crews have found...
TOUGH START TO LAGUNA WEEKEND FOR KAWASAKI
The Kawasaki Racing Team endured a difficult opening day at Laguna Seca, but Jamie Hacking and Anthony West remain confident of significant improvements tomorrow, once their respective crews have found a solution to the front-end problems that plagued both riders during today's two practice sessions.
The technical and twisty Laguna Seca circuit demands that a rider has the utmost confidence in front-end grip, and both Kawasaki riders struggled today to find a set-up that provided the required level of feedback from the front tyre.
This lack of feeling resulted in Anthony West crashing heavily during this afternoon's hour-long practice session, after losing the front under braking for turn two. The 27-year-old Australian was uninjured in the crash, but struggled to regain his confidence in the front-end of the bike during the remaining 20 minutes of the session.
Kawasaki's engineers will investigate the problem overnight using the data collected during today's two free practice sessions, and they are confident of finding a solution that will allow both riders to realise their full potential ahead of tomorrow's all-important qualifying session.
Despite the set-up problems, Jamie Hacking maintains that he has enjoyed making his MotoGP debut today. The 37-year-old British born rider has adapted quickly to the demands of riding a pure prototype racer like the Ninja ZX-RR, and he completed both of today's practice sessions without incident.
Jamie Hacking - #12 - 18th - 1'24.050
"The important thing is that we've made it through both practice sessions safely today. When I tested the bike in Japan I felt comfortable straight away, but Laguna is a very different racetrack to Autopolis and the bike feels very different here. We made some set-up changes for the second session this afternoon, but they didn't lead to the improvements we were expecting, which meant I wasn't able to improve on my lap time from the morning practice. I could have pushed a bit harder, but without the feeling from the front end there would have been some risk. We will look at improving the front-end feeling overnight, and my aim tomorrow is simply to continue making progress with the set-up of the bike. I'm not looking for anything crazy going into qualifying tomorrow, as long as we keep improving with every session then I'll be satisfied."
Anthony West - #13 - 19th - 1'24.483
"The conditions were quite difficult this morning, with mist still hanging around some parts of the circuit. We had some difficulties getting the bike to turn in and hold a line during the first practice session, but this was much improved for the second session this afternoon. We still have issues with the front-end; you need to have confidence in the front-end grip at this circuit, and it still feels a bit vague at the moment through some sections of the track. Halfway through the session I decided to push harder anyway, and that's when I lost the front under braking for turn two. It was a big crash, but luckily I didn't do any more damage to my back. The team are working hard now to find a solution to the front-end problem, and I'm confident that they'll have it sorted for tomorrow's practice and qualifying sessions."
Kaneko - Kawasaki Technical Manager
"Both riders are complaining of a lack of feeling from the front-end, and this makes it difficult for them to have the confidence to push for a fast lap time. Obviously we need to find a solution to this issue ahead of tomorrow's practice and qualifying sessions and, together with Bridgestone, we will be looking at the data to identify what we need to change overnight. I'm confident that, if we can give the riders more feedback from the front, then we will see significant improvements in their lap times tomorrow."