Indianapolis GP: Kawasaki preview

KAWASAKI OPTIMISTIC AHEAD OF INDIANAPOLIS Kawasaki's John Hopkins and Anthony West head to round 14 of the MotoGP Championship, which is being held at the Indianapolis circuit for the very first time, in optimistic mood. The Kawasaki pair are ...

KAWASAKI OPTIMISTIC AHEAD OF INDIANAPOLIS

Kawasaki's John Hopkins and Anthony West head to round 14 of the MotoGP Championship, which is being held at the Indianapolis circuit for the very first time, in optimistic mood. The Kawasaki pair are looking to score solid results at the 4.216km American circuit, at which none of the MotoGP regulars have had any previous track experience.

West, who has recently struggled with front-end issues aboard his Kawasaki race machine is looking to gain a strong result at this new-to-MotoGP circuit. The 27-year-old Australian, who scored a career best Grand Prix finish with a fifth place at Brno, has been working closely with his crew to improve the set-up of his Ninja ZX-RR to give him more confidence into the turns. Although the recent post-race test at Misano didn't completely abolish the problem, he believes that steps forward have been made and he can continue his progression this weekend.

Hopkins is looking forward to racing his Ninja ZX-RR at his home event this weekend, especially after missing out on the Laguna Seca round through injury. The 25-year-old Anglo-American's progress has been hampered recently due to injury, but the Kawasaki pilot is hoping to make amends in front of a home crowd, especially after making further improvements to his race machine at the Misano post-race test.

The Indianapolis circuit is made up of an oval, famously used for the Indianapolis 500 and Allstate 400 at the Brickyard races, along with a recently altered infield track. It's a new challenge for all of the competitors in the premier class, as none of them have raced at this circuit previously. One man who does know his way around the circuit, after testing there earlier this year, is Kawasaki's test and development rider, Olivier Jacque.

"The Indianapolis circuit is quite unusual and very different from the tracks that the MotoGP racers compete at in Europe," explains Jacque. "The circuit uses the straights from the famous oval, which lead onto an infield racetrack. The two main areas of concern are the difference in grip levels between these two sections, and the joins in the tarmac because they are quite slippery.

"The test we did earlier this year was quite successful for us and the Ninja ZX-RR was working well, particularly in the tight turns and the quick changes of direction. A good tyre choice will be an essential factor during the race as the second half of the track is very grippy and the machine is at maximum lean angle for a long period of time," concluded the Frenchman.

Anthony West - Kawasaki MotoGP Pilot #13

"Indianapolis is a new challenge for everyone as no-one knows the track. I'm hoping this will give us a little bit of an advantage, as it should be more of an even playing field. At Misano we struggled with the front-end of the bike, and although we managed to make some improvements in the post-race test, there is still work to do. I stayed in Italy following the event where I've been doing a lot of cycling and training ready for this weekend, so I'm feeling relaxed and ready for the challenge. We'll go and try to get as many laps under our belt on Friday to put us in the best possible position for the race, and it will be a case of trying to capture as much data as we can, then going from there. I'm looking forward to it and I hope we can get a strong result."

John Hopkins - Kawasaki MotoGP Pilot #21

"I'm really excited about Indianapolis as it's my second home round and unfortunately I missed Laguna Seca because I was injured. Not only that, but I grew up around the racing world, and although two-wheeled motorsport is my favourite, the family would all get together to watch races like the Brickyard and the Indianapolis 500 at this track. It's a very special feeling to be racing in MotoGP there, and although I'm not familiar with the circuit, I'm incredibly motivated for this event. I've been studying the track layout and Olivier tested the Ninja ZX-RR earlier this year, so we have a little bit of feedback from that, but being in front of my home fans at such an incredible place is going to be fantastic - I just can't wait to get out there."

-credit: krt

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers John Hopkins , Olivier Jacque , Anthony West