WEST ELEVENTH AT WET AND WINDY INDY Kawasaki's Anthony West battled the elements today to bring his Ninja ZX-RR race machine home in 11th position at the inaugural Indianapolis Grand Prix, which was red-flagged eight laps early due to ...
WEST ELEVENTH AT WET AND WINDY INDY
Kawasaki's Anthony West battled the elements today to bring his Ninja ZX-RR race machine home in 11th position at the inaugural Indianapolis Grand Prix, which was red-flagged eight laps early due to treacherous weather conditions.
Following heavy rainfall after this morning's dry warm-up, the 28-lap race got underway at the Indiana circuit and John Hopkins made a determined start into 10th place from 16th on the grid, while West moved up into 16th from the back row of the grid.
The Kawasaki duo both made up a place in the opening two laps, but it was West who impressively fought his way up to 13th position behind teammate Hopkins, who had lost out to Chris Vermeulen and Sylvain Guintoli by lap four. West continued his surge through the field and by lap eight the 27-year-old Australian had managed to pass three of his rivals, including teammate Hopkins, to take 10th position aboard his Ninja ZX-RR.
The wet weather expert then focussed his attentions on closing down the gap to fellow countryman, Chris Vermeulen, who had a four second advantage over the Kawasaki pilot. However, by lap 13 the weather rapidly deteriorated, as heavy gusts of wind and rain descended on the 4.216km track. West fought to hold onto his top-ten place, but with a lack of visibility and reduced grip around the circuit, he lost a position to Alex De Angelis shortly before the race was red-flagged on lap 20 for safety reasons.
Hopkins suffered similar difficulties in the tricky conditions, with the heavy wind making it difficult for the 25-year-old Anglo-American to change direction aboard his Bridgestone shod machine. The Kawasaki racer, despite looking to re-catch Tony Elias who was just over a second ahead, dropped back in the last few laps of the race to cross the line in 14th position.
Soon after the Kawasaki pair entered pit-lane, it was declared that the race wouldn't be restarted on safety grounds.
Anthony West - #13 - 11th Position
"I'm actually really disappointed because I was sure we could have achieved a much better result in the wet today. The track was cleared of standing water before the beginning of the race, and because I was so far back I had to really push hard to make up positions in the opening few laps. We got up to 10th place and I really felt we were capable of catching the riders ahead, but as the weather deteriorated so did the grip level left in my tyre, as I'd worked it so hard in the beginning, and we couldn't push any harder towards the end. From dead last on the grid eleventh isn't so bad, and given the weather we were up against, at least we were able to fight for what nearly was a top ten place."
John Hopkins - #21 -- 14th Position
"Warm-up this morning was dry and then the weather deteriorated not long before the race. We got a really good start, and we ran a fairly hard compound rear tyre as we thought a dry line might appear before the end of the race. This took a while to get up to temperature, so I rode quite steadily in the opening laps and unfortunately lost a few places. We got into a good rhythm and our lap times were good, but then the weather rapidly got worse. The rain we could deal with, but the wind was unbelievable, which made it hard to get the bike to change direction. There was a lot of debris all over the track and then the race was red-flagged. Overall 14th is certainly not where we wanted to finish, but in the dry we definitely made some improvements during qualifying and I hope we can put these to good use next time out in Japan."
Bartholemy - Kawasaki Competition Manager
"We made a really promising start to the weekend in Friday practice, with both of our riders nearing the top of the time sheets. The weather then changed for Saturday and it was dry at the circuit, which is new to MotoGP and we came across some difficulties. Although we didn't qualify so well, we were hoping for good results in today's wet race. Conditions were very tough out on circuit, and Anthony managed to get up to the top ten, but after working his tyre so hard at the beginning of the race he dropped off a little towards the end. John also made a really good start, but the heavy wind really affected him before the race was red-flagged. We do have some positives to take away from this weekend, but we certainly have a lot more work to do, and we really have to make improvements to put us in good stead for the team's second home race in Japan in a few weeks time."