SURPRISES IN STORE AT SHANGHAI? Tomorrow's Grand Prix of China will see Kawasaki Ninja ZX-RR riders, John Hopkins and Anthony West, starting from 14th and 18th positions, respectively, after a tough qualifying session this afternoon. For ...
SURPRISES IN STORE AT SHANGHAI?
Tomorrow's Grand Prix of China will see Kawasaki Ninja ZX-RR riders, John Hopkins and Anthony West, starting from 14th and 18th positions, respectively, after a tough qualifying session this afternoon.
For Hopkins, the day proved especially frustrating as his times were putting him at the front of the field but then he suffered a lowside, at the almost turn one, and his chances of recovering a better starting position for his 100th MotoGP race were gone.
However, after showing what strong form he is on all weekend, with consistent and impressive improvement on race tyres, those in front of him on the grid will have to watch their backs, as he's got a point to prove.
For West, the qualifying session also proved difficult but his times have been getting ever better throughout the weekend so far. Furthermore, with extremely heavy rain forecast for Sunday, many would consider the Bridgestone-shod, wet weather maestro a good bet for a solid result.
After a day that saw a large number of riders lowsiding and running off, and bikes violently shaking their heads, it looks like tomorrow's 22-lap round could prove a particularly entertaining, and unpredictable, one.
John Hopkins - #21: 14th -- 1'59.740 [hopkins.jpg]
"We were expecting a lot better than this after three good practice sessions here. The bike feels strong at this circuit, we know we have a good race tyre for tomorrow if it's dry and I'm feeling confident. But we've made our job a lot harder by not qualifying higher up the grid. We had two different types of qualifying tyre today, and one type worked well, but I made a couple of mistakes on my flying laps. The other type was virtually unusable because of the chatter it induced. In fact it was so bad, it virtually bounced me off the bike at the start of my last qualifying run. I'm disappointed because I was expecting much better but we've got a good set-up for the race. Now I just need to get my head down and go as hard as I can from the start."
Anthony West - #13: 18th -- 2'00.838
"We came into this weekend with high hopes after a successful test at Estoril but we've ended up disappointed again. We seem to have the same problem that's been plaguing us since the start of the season, where the bike just seems to spin up as soon as you touch the throttle on corner exit. John doesn't seem to have the same issues, so we know it's not a fundamental problem, but for now we're struggling to find a solution. It's frustrating but we're not giving up and I'll push as hard as I can. Rain is forecast and, while most people will be hoping it stays dry, a wet race wouldn't be unwelcome on my side of the pit box!"
Kaneko - Kawasaki Technical Manager
"We had some problems during qualifying, which means that John hasn't qualified as well as we were expecting. He's starting from further back on the grid than we would have liked but I'm confident he will make up places from the start of the race tomorrow, as he is happy with the performance of the bike in race trim. We need to continue working with Anthony during warm-up tomorrow, to see if we can improve his feeling with the bike. Of course, if the rain forecast for the race does actually materialise, then maybe he will surprise a few people!"