TOUGH WEEKEND AT MISANO ENDS WITH POINTS Kawasaki's Anthony West and John Hopkins brought their Ninja ZX-RR MotoGP machines home in the points during this afternoon's Grand Prix of Cinzano Di San Marino E Riviera Di Rimini. But, despite the...
TOUGH WEEKEND AT MISANO ENDS WITH POINTS
Kawasaki's Anthony West and John Hopkins brought their Ninja ZX-RR MotoGP machines home in the points during this afternoon's Grand Prix of Cinzano Di San Marino E Riviera Di Rimini. But, despite the points haul, both riders were frustrated not to have finished further up the field, especially after such a promising performance with the evolution version of Kawasaki's MotoGP racer last time out in Brno.
Both riders made a determined start to the race from the back row of the grid, as West fought his way through to 12th position and Hopkins moved up to 14th by the end of the first lap of the Misano circuit. The Kawasaki duo exchanged places numerous times with fellow competitors in the opening stages, before settling into a rhythm with West in 13th position and Hopkins a place behind.
West concentrated on lapping consistently around the 4.20km circuit, despite still battling with a lack of confidence, a problem that has plagued him throughout practice and qualifying. The 27-year-old Australian set his fastest time of the weekend on lap 20 of 28 and managed to hold off teammate Hopkins to take 13th place at the chequered flag.
A recovering Hopkins, who was sidelined from the two hour-long practice sessions on Friday through injury complications, made the best of the setting he had after a reduced amount of time on circuit. Having sat out the post-race test in Brno, the 25-year-old has been severely disadvantaged with little track time to find a more usable set-up for Kawasaki's upgraded Ninja ZX-RR.
Hopkins is confident that, given time to refine his setup during tomorrow's test, he will head into the next round of the MotoGP World Championship, at Indianapolis, with a much better feeling for Kawasaki's upgraded Ninja ZX-RR.
Anthony West - #13 - 13th Position
"I just didn't have the confidence to push the front all weekend, and I couldn't found a solution to this, which was obviously reflected in our result today. On a positive note we did manage to set the fastest lap time of the weekend in the race, and had we been further up the grid, I am sure we could have been battling for stronger positions. John and I were locked together for most of the race and although I had to push quite hard, I managed to hold him off to the flag. At the post-race test in Brno we tried a revised specification front tyre from Bridgestone, which definitely was an improvement, but we couldn't get it to work comfortably with the bike here, so this is an area we need to concentrate on as I believe this can help us achieve better results."
John Hopkins - #21 -- 14th Position
"This weekend has been frustratingly tough for us. Having aggravated the injury to my rib we missed two sessions and basically ran out of time to set the bike up. We got a good start to the race, but I was suffering with quite a lot of discomfort from the injury and I just couldn't push as hard as I wanted to. We're struggling with a few problems with the front-end feeling, but again, that's simply down to a lack of track time. All of the other Bridgestone riders are on a different specification tyre, and this is something we need time to test as I think it will make a big difference for us. I'm having some intense treatment overnight and hopefully we can get plenty of laps under our belt tomorrow to put us in better stead for my home race in Indianapolis."
Bartholemy - Kawasaki Competition Manager
"Today has been difficult for us, and this result is not what we had expected after Brno. Anthony has struggled with a lack of confidence all weekend and, although he set his fastest lap of all of the sessions during the race, it wasn't enough to bridge the gap to the other riders. John lost out on a lot of track time this weekend, so he was always going to be at a disadvantage today. After suffering with so many challenges lately, he is quite down. It's always tough coming back from an injury, but he knows that he needs to put that behind him, get his head down and get on with securing the results we know he's capable of. I hope he can take advantage of tomorrow's test to catch up on the set-up time he's lost through injury, because a successful test will be just the thing to motivate him for the next race in Indianapolis."