Italian GP: Kawasaki qualifying report

TESTING TIMES FOR KAWASAKI IN MUGELLO QUALIFYING The Mugello circuit has proven to be a tough challenge during today's qualifying for Kawasaki's John Hopkins and Anthony West, who finished with 14th and 19th positions on the grid. Following ...

TESTING TIMES FOR KAWASAKI IN MUGELLO QUALIFYING

The Mugello circuit has proven to be a tough challenge during today's qualifying for Kawasaki's John Hopkins and Anthony West, who finished with 14th and 19th positions on the grid.

Following yesterday's rain hampered practice sessions, there was a break in the clouds and the weather had somewhat improved for today's proceedings. Hopkins used the morning session to find a workable setting around the demanding 5.245km Tuscany circuit, finishing provisionally on the third row of the grid.

However, the afternoon qualifying stint brought no joy for the 25-year-old Anglo-American, leaving him in a frustrating 14th place. Hopkins knows he has his work cut-out tomorrow, but remains determined to achieve a strong result aboard his Ninja ZX-RR.

Despite slashing his lap time on each qualifying run, knocking nearly half a second off his best time in his last outing on super-soft qualifying rubber, West will start tomorrow's race from 19th position.

After making alterations to the set-up of his Kawasaki to reduce the rear-traction issues that has thwarted his progress in previous rounds, the 26-year-old found himself with a lack of feeling from the machine's front end. West is extremely dissatisfied as yesterday's outing on slick tyres looked promising for the Australian. Overnight he will work with his crew to find a solution to these issues, particularly for the off-camber, downhill sections of the circuit.

Both Kawasaki riders will be aiming to further improve their set-up during morning warm-up ahead of tomorrow's 23-lap race.

John Hopkins - #21: 14th -- 1'49.601

"Today has felt like an uphill struggle for us. We had a few problems transitioning to a dry set-up in this morning's practice session, after the two wet sessions yesterday. But we persisted on refining the set-up, as well as working closely with Bridgestone to find a suitable tyre combination for the race. In qualifying it just didn't come together for us, which has left us with a less than ideal grid position. It's going to be incredibly important to get a good start in the race if I'm to claw back some points tomorrow."

Anthony West - #13: 19th -- 1'50.889

"Yesterday felt good in the dry and to end up at the back of the grid after today's qualifying is very frustrating. We have been trying many different ideas to improve the rear-traction of the machine, as I have been struggling to get out of the corners at previous rounds. This track is particularly tricky, especially the downhill, off-camber sections, but today we found ourselves with no front-end feeling and I just couldn't push the bike into the turns. I did manage to improve my lap time on each qualifying run, and our race set-up isn't so far off, I just hope we can gain a solid result tomorrow."

Kaneko - Kawasaki Technical Manager

"Today has been difficult for both riders. We have been working with Anthony to reduce the rear-traction issues he's encountered, but this has now compromised the front-end feeling of the machine. He has been gaining confidence on the bike throughout the sessions, but it just isn't enough at the moment to be further up the field. With John, today has been a challenge to find a good dry set-up and we need to work overnight to improve the situation for the race tomorrow."

-credit: krt

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Series MotoGP
Drivers John Hopkins , Anthony West