US GP: Kawasaki qualifying report

IMPROVEMENTS LEAVE HACKING EXCITED ABOUT MOTOGP DEBUT Jamie Hacking is looking forward to making his MotoGP race debut in tomorrow's USGP at Laguna Seca, after major changes made overnight to the set-up of his Ninja ZX-RR paid dividends for the...

IMPROVEMENTS LEAVE HACKING EXCITED ABOUT MOTOGP DEBUT

Jamie Hacking is looking forward to making his MotoGP race debut in tomorrow's USGP at Laguna Seca, after major changes made overnight to the set-up of his Ninja ZX-RR paid dividends for the Kawasaki pilot during today's practice and qualifying sessions.

Hacking and his crew made changes to the chassis geometry and suspension settings in a bid to improve feedback from the front tyre, and to give the 37-year-old AMA Superbike star more confidence in the front-end of his Ninja ZX-RR.

The transformation compared to yesterday was obvious from the start, with the increase in confidence allowing Hacking to cut almost half-a-second from his lap time during this morning's final free practice session, and then improve that by a further three-tenths during this afternoon's qualifying session.

The Kawasaki pilot suffered a minor fall on his first qualifying run this afternoon after losing the front at Rainey Curve due to the extra grip offered by Bridgestone's rear qualifying tyre, which Hacking experienced for the first time today.

With his lap times consistently in the low 1'23s bracket throughout today's two hour-long sessions, Hacking is looking forward to tomorrow's race, where he's determined to finish higher than his final qualifying position of 17th.

Anthony West's crew also made major changes the set-up of his Ninja ZX-RR overnight, but unlike his temporary teammate, the 27-year-old Australian felt little improvement in the front-end of his Ninja ZX-RR today.

A lack of confidence in the front grip available meant that West was unable to qualify higher than 18th place and, as a result, he faces a tough race. Despite the setback, the Kawasaki pilot is determined to put in another points scoring performance tomorrow.

Jamie Hacking - #12 - 17th - 1'23.309

"We definitely went in the right direction with the set-up changes last night, as the bike was transformed and I was able to push much harder today. We made some more small improvements during this morning's practice session, and I felt pretty comfortable running laps in the low 1'2 bracket this afternoon. I've never used Bridgestone qualifiers before, so the extra grip came as something of a surprise. On my first run on the soft tyres I overrode the front at Rainey Curve and low-sided, which meant a run back to the pit box for the spare bike. I managed to improve my lap time with my last flying lap, but I think I'd need much more time on the qualifiers before I was able to get the best from them. We have some more small changes we want to make tonight and I'm pretty confident that if these work as expected, then it should be possible to drop into the low 1'22's during tomorrow's race. With the progress we made today with the bike, I'm really excited about racing it tomorrow."

Anthony West - #13 - 18th - 1'24.525

"We made similar changes overnight to Jamie, but we didn't seem to get the same improvement today. The front still feels vague, especially when I'm braking on the edge of the tyre, which you have to do a lot of here at Laguna. I couldn't even stand the bike up to brake before turning in, because that meant I missed the apex almost every time. We will look again at the set-up of the bike tonight; Jamie tried a few things today that might also work for us, but we won't know until we try them out during warm-up tomorrow. If will be a difficult race, but it should still be possible to finish in the points if I just get my head down and push as hard as I can."

Fanali - Hacking Crew Chief

"Jamie's comments yesterday were very clear, and it was easy to understand exactly what he needed from the bike. Last night we changed the set-up to put more weight on the front tyre in a bid to increase the working temperature, and also to increase feedback for Jamie. We saw straight away this morning that we were going in the right direction and we were able to make some further improvements ahead of qualifying. Qualifying was always going to be difficult for Jamie, because he's never used our qualifying tyres before. What impressed me was that, despite his inexperience on the super-sticky tyres, he still pushed really hard. I'm sure he will improve further during the race tomorrow, as he's progressed each time he's taken to the track. He is a rider with a big heart and I'd like to thank him for all his hard work this weekend."

-credit: krt

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Jamie Hacking , Anthony West