WEST LOOKS FOR IMPROVEMENTS AT SACHSENRING Kawasaki's Anthony West endured another difficult day at Sachsenring today, qualifying in 17th place after a high-speed crash during this morning's free practice session saw him struggling to regain ...
WEST LOOKS FOR IMPROVEMENTS AT SACHSENRING
Kawasaki's Anthony West endured another difficult day at Sachsenring today, qualifying in 17th place after a high-speed crash during this morning's free practice session saw him struggling to regain confidence in the front end grip of his Ninja ZX-RR during this afternoon's timed session.
West crashed heavily halfway through this morning's hour-long session, losing the front of his Ninja ZX-RR at Turn Eight, the 200km/h downhill right-hander that also claimed pole position man Casey Stoner during yesterday's afternoon practice. The Kawasaki pilot was lucky to walk away uninjured, but his Ninja ZX-RR required extensive repairs as a result of the crash.
West returned to the track aboard his spare bike, but an electrical problem brought the bike to a halt after just one lap, with the result that West only completed eight laps of the 3.761km Sachsenring circuit during the final free practice session.
This lack of track time was apparent during the afternoon qualifying session, with West struggling in the limited time available to find a set-up that provided him with the required level of feedback from the front end of his Ninja ZX-RR.
A switch to qualifying tyres in the final 30 minutes brought little improvement in West's lap time, as the super-sticky rear induced chatter in the bike that wasn't apparent on race rubber. West did manage to improve on his previous best lap time on his final qualifier, but it wasn't enough to elevate him further up the grid for tomorrow's 30-lap race.
Despite the setbacks, the 26-year-old Australian heads into tomorrow's German Grand Prix determined to bring his Ninja ZX-RR home in the points.
West: #13 - 17th - 1'23.158
"What a completely disappointing day. The conditions this morning were pretty difficult, as the track started wet but then began to dry out after about 30 minutes. I wasn't pushing so hard because of the track conditions, but I lost the front just as I turned into the right-hander at the top of the hill halfway through the session. It was another big crash, and it came without any warning, which doesn't do your confidence any good. We lost a lot of track time this morning, and that cost us this afternoon. We simply ran out of time to work on set-up and I just had to try and do the best I could on the qualifying tyres. But even on the soft rubber there were problems, with chatter making it very difficult to get on the gas early and make best use of the extra grip that a qualifier gives you. I'll be sitting down with my crew tonight to try and figure out how we can make improvements for tomorrow. Whatever we do it's still going to be a tough race but, as usual, I'll be getting my head down and trying to make up as many places as I can from the start."
Kaneko: Kawasaki Technical Manager
"Anthony's crash and then the electrical problem with his spare bike this morning meant we lost out on valuable track time, and we paid the price for that this afternoon. Initially we had some issues with grip, because the track temperature was much lower than it was yesterday, but then when we switched to the qualifying tyres we started having issues with rear-end chatter. This meant that Anthony was unable to open the throttle as early as he wanted to and, as a result, it wasn't possible for him to improve significantly on his lap time on race rubber. We will analyse the data tonight to see if we can eliminate some of the problems Anthony has experienced today, but we need to be flexible because the weather so far this weekend has been very unpredictable, and this looks set to continue tomorrow."