WEST STORMS TO FRONT IN WET INDY PRACTICE Kawasaki's Anthony West dominated both practice sessions during the opening day at a very wet Indianapolis circuit, putting his Ninja ZX-RR at the top of the timesheets in both practice periods to finish...
WEST STORMS TO FRONT IN WET INDY PRACTICE
Kawasaki's Anthony West dominated both practice sessions during the opening day at a very wet Indianapolis circuit, putting his Ninja ZX-RR at the top of the timesheets in both practice periods to finish as the fastest rider overall.
The 27-year-old Australian was quick to get to grips with the 4.216km track, which is new to the MotoGP regulars and, as a result, spent the majority of the opening practice at the top of the standings, over two seconds ahead of the rest of the field. The Kawasaki pilot responded to challenges from reigning World Champion, Casey Stoner, and finished the one hour and a half long stint 0.117 seconds clear of second-placed Alex De Angelis, with the fastest time of the day of 1'53.034.
West's storming pace aboard his Ninja ZX-RR continued throughout the hour-long afternoon session, as he impressively led the field while conditions on track worsened. The Kawasaki pilot looked smooth and comfortable aboard his Bridgestone shod machine, and although none of the MotoGP competitors improved their times from the morning session, West still set a lap time nearly one second faster than closest rival, Chris Vermeulen. A confident West is looking forward to qualifying tomorrow, for which the forecast is continued rain, as he looks to further refine his set-up around the slippery Indianapolis circuit.
John Hopkins also made a strong start to his home Grand Prix, finishing the day fifth in the overall standings. The 25-year-old Anglo-American set his fastest time of 1'53.715 on lap 28 of 28 during this morning's opening wet session.
Hopkins worked through different Bridgestone rear tyre options during the second session, and ended the day confident that he can fight for a front row position during tomorrow's qualifying with further improvements that he intends to make to his machine overnight.
Anthony West - #13 - 1st - 1'53.034
"This is a great way to start the weekend, especially after the results we've had recently. There's a lot of water out on the circuit, and it's a bit strange as there are quite a few changes of surface, but I've found my way around here quite easily, so I'm feeling happy. In some ways this track is a bit like those I used to ride on back home in Australia, because many of the circuits there have inconsistent surfaces, and I've found it relatively easy to adapt my riding style to suit the changes throughout a lap here. The bike is working well, and although we've had a few scary moments, I'm feeling pretty confident for tomorrow. It's promising that we can come to a new track, learn the lines quickly, and be able to put in good lap times quite comfortably."
John Hopkins - #21 - 5th - 1'53.715
"This morning conditions started off quite wet, so we concentrated on finding the right lines around the circuit, and it's quite strange as I really had to alter the way I was riding the bike to suit the changes in surface. I was fairly pleased with our lap time, which we set on a softer compound tyre, before trying something a bit harder during the opening part of the afternoon session. This didn't really work so well for us, but by the time we went back to the soft tyre, conditions had worsened and there was a lot of standing water out on track. My first impressions of the layout of the circuit are quite good, but it's difficult to tell with so much rain. It's pretty special for me here this weekend with all of the American fans, and I'm confident there's a lot more to come from us during tomorrow's qualifying, after we've made a few adjustments overnight."
Martinez - West Crew Chief
"Anthony's performance today was very strong. We have found a good set-up for the Ninja ZX-RR to suit this circuit and it's the first time he has felt really comfortable aboard the bike. We have a little bit of an advantage in that our test team was here earlier this year, but as conditions are completely different this weekend, the data we have from them doesn't replicate exactly what Anthony is feeling out on track. To finish the day in first place is a big motivation for the team, and I hope we can continue to build on this tomorrow, especially as the forecast is for more rain."