KAWASAKI BACK IN ACTION AT BRNO The action began today at the Brno Circuit in the Czech Republic for this weekend's Grand Prix and the Kawasaki Racing Team looked strong from the outset. Number 14 rider, Randy de Puniet, had an especially good...
KAWASAKI BACK IN ACTION AT BRNO
The action began today at the Brno Circuit in the Czech Republic for this weekend's Grand Prix and the Kawasaki Racing Team looked strong from the outset.
Number 14 rider, Randy de Puniet, had an especially good day, coming in fifth fastest on combined times after the two free practice sessions. He performed particularly well in the second session, holding his own at or near the top of the time sheets for much of the hour, including holding off Casey Stoner and John Hopkins for a number of laps. Eventually, he came home behind them, Loris Capirossi and eventual fastest man, and the first rider to use a qualifying tyre, Sylvain Guintoli.
During the traditional summer break after the US round at Laguna Seca, de Puniet trained hard and, as a result, is fighting fit and it shows. After being unable to work out to the maximum due to injuries earlier in the season, the 26-year-old Frenchman can now dedicate his time to maintaining ultimate fitness and he has returned to Brno in great condition, with a renewed determination to ride the 800cc Ninja ZX-RR to its full potential. And it certainly looked that way today.
Anthony West also looked sharp, occupying the top ten for much of the first hour-long session before slipping back as many of the rest of the field picked up their pace at the last minute. The afternoon practice proved harder work, however, as he struggled to find a good rhythm and set up, having particular problems finding grip on the cold Brno track surface.
The Australian, who was 26 last month, has also been in training and, like his team mate, is showing continued improvements in both his physical health and mental approach to his racing. West has adopted a rigorous and unforgiving fitness regime and is already reaping the benefits of feeling stronger on the bike.
Furthermore, with the official team colour back to the traditional Kawasaki lime green, the manufacturer has reaffirmed its strong presence in the paddock after fans asked for the return of the brand-defining livery.
Despite being overcast today, the forecast is good for the weekend and, as always, many thousands of fans are expected to watch from the hills and grandstands surrounding the picturesque, 5.4km track.
De Puniet: #14 - 5th - Best Lap 1'59.064
"I'm very happy to be here and on the bike after the long break. This morning was strange because some parts of the track were wet and some were dry but this afternoon the track was good and the temperature wasn't so high. We worked mainly on the tyres and suspension and, generally, I'm happy with my bike. I did a long run of maybe eight or nine laps, and my times were consistent and fast, but we need to improve things a little bit. I'm sure we will find some solutions this evening on how to get my lap times even better and maintain this standard during the practice tomorrow."
West: #13 - 15th - Best Lap 2'00.398
"I haven't managed to find a good feeling on the bike today, for a number of reasons. The track temperature today was not really what we were expecting it to be at Brno in August, and this meant we've had some rear traction problems that will hopefully disappear once the track warms up tomorrow. We've made some improvements to the set-up of the bike during the two hours of practice, and in the final ten minutes the feeling was definitely better, although we still have some work to do. Overall it was difficult to go fast today, but I'm confident that we'll be able to improve tomorrow. We need to continue refining our set-up and I need to perfect my lines around certain parts of the track, if we can achieve this then I know we can finish higher up the order than we were today."
Matsuda: Kawasaki MotoGP Project Leader
"Our development programme has continued during the winter break, with the result that we now have more usable revs, which obviously means more top end power, for this race. Also, the clutch we are using this weekend is a new development, as is the chassis, both of which Randy used to good effect today after finding a good set-up on the bike. Anthony looks to have struggled a little today, but this is a new track for him on the MotoGP bike, and we know how to improve his set-up for tomorrow, so I think we will see an improvement from him. Today was a good start, not just to the Brno race, but also to the second part of the season."