KAWASAKI FACES WITH OPTIMISM THE ISTANBUL CHALLENGE Kawasaki's Randy de Puniet and Olivier Jacque will start tomorrow's Turkish Grand Prix from the third and fourth row respectively after qualifying eighth and eleventh at the one-hour long ...
KAWASAKI FACES WITH OPTIMISM THE ISTANBUL CHALLENGE
Kawasaki's Randy de Puniet and Olivier Jacque will start tomorrow's Turkish Grand Prix from the third and fourth row respectively after qualifying eighth and eleventh at the one-hour long qualifying session that took place today at the Istanbul Circuit Park.
Despite the grid position achieved is not as good as expected, the Kawasaki Team faces with optimism the third race of the 2007 season after showing an important improvement on the engine and chassis side making the riders feel more comfortable and reducing the lap times as the sessions were progressing.
Randy de Puniet made today a huge effort after yesterday's crash, not only as he had to catch up on his schedule but he had to overcome a huge pain in his right heel and hip. With better surface conditions than yesterday, the 26-year-old worked throughout this morning third free practice session to refine the race set up and checking again the softer rear race tyre option that yesterday left him with a good impression.
However, an increase of the track temperature in the afternoon made de Puniet and his crew go for a harder option as a consequence of an increase of rear sliding. Half way through the session, like happened in Jerez, de Puniet was the first rider to switch to the qualifying tyres in the one-hour long qualifying session holding the pole position until the last minutes. While the Kawasaki rider couldn't improve his lap times with his other two sets due to the over-sliding, his rivals took advantage of their sets relegating him to the eighth position.
De Puniet's team-mate, Olivier Jacque achieved today his best qualifying position of the season setting his best lap time almost under the chequered flag and with his third set of qualifying tyres. Even though the experienced French rider was losing a lot in the first intermediate, he made up the time in the second and third and lost out on the third row by less than a tenth.
Satisfied with the race set up of his Ninja ZX-RR that he and his crew ended up with in the morning, Jacque knows that the start will be vital if he is to achieve his aim of a top ten position tomorrow.
With the top ten in mind, the Kawasaki Racing Team faces with optimism tomorrow's 22-lap race after the improvement in feeling and consistency of both riders and the Ninja ZX-RR performance, with the only doubt remaining of which will be the tyre choice for the race. Further discussions tonight and tomorrow's weather conditions will resolve it.
8th - 46 Laps - Best Lap 1'53.706
"My heel is still sore but the hip is even more painful but I had to put up with it and did the best I could. This morning we did many little adjustments in the bike and worked for the whole session with the same front and rear tyre, which was the soft option that I liked yesterday. It went pretty well but in the afternoon it was sliding a lot due to the increase of the track temperature. This is the reason why we tried a harder one but it was sliding a little so we are not sure which one we will use tomorrow. My first qualifying worked quite well but I had problems with the other two. I don't know what happened, we need to check but the engine drop down and the front end was suddenly moving a lot. Anyway, I am confident because my feeling on the bike is quite good as is my race pace."
11th -- 48 Laps -- Best Lap 1'53.847
"I was expecting a better result at the qualifying session but the qualifying tyres didn't offer as much improvement in side grip over the race tyre as we were expecting, and there was some confusion as well at the end with lots of riders waiting for the Ducatis so they could follow them. The wind didn't help to find the right line and the balance of the bike. We did some suspension adjustments this morning, and tried two different tyres but the choice will depend on tomorrow's weather. I am sure that if we do a good start we will be able to get the aimed top ten positions."
Kawasaki Racing Director
"This weekend has been quite positive so far. We brought some new chassis parts and the engine is working very well. Checking the speed sheets, we can be satisfied. And the chassis parts helped to improve the lap times as well. We are satisfied too with both riders' performance. We are working on the right direction and tomorrow our aim is to have both riders at the top ten. Seventh position for Randy and eighth for Olivier can be possible. And this is our target."