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Kawasaki boosted by dry time

Kawasaki boosted by dry time

Kawasaki boosted by dry time

With their 2004 version of the Ninja ZX-RR machine still in the early stages of development, Fuchs Kawasaki were one of the teams hit worst by the bad conditions at Jerez last weekend, denying them valuable track time to evaluate the latest updates to the machine. However, after a mixed day on Monday the sun finally shone for the second and final day of testing on Tuesday, when Shinya Nakano and Alex Hoffman racked up 120 laps between them as they worked their way through a punishing schedule.

For Nakano, the focus of the test was on the chassis, working with his pit crew to improve the front and rear suspension settings in a bid to improve stability of the bike under braking and control of the rear under power. In addition to the chassis work, Nakano also tested a range of new tyres from Bridgestone, declaring himself impressed with the consistency of one in particular as he set a fastest time of 1'42.82 after 51 laps.

"For the first part of the test we concentrated on the chassis, working to find a better setting on the front and rear suspension," explained the 26 year old. "We managed to make a small improvement to both ends of the bike, which led to better stability under braking and improved control when the rear starts to slide.

"After that it was on to tyre testing and I'm happy to say we identified one rear slick that worked consistently around this circuit. Overall we checked many small, but important things and the end result wasn't so bad.

"We head now for the next race at Le Mans, where we'll have even more new components to test."

Hofmann also concentrated on refining the set-up of his Ninja ZX-RR, as well as running tyre endurance tests throughout the day. The German also tested the same revised clutch components and settings briefly tried by Nakano on Monday, but was disappointed with his progress.

"We tested the new clutch components and settings that Shinya tried, but the main focus of the test was tyre testing for Bridgestone and working to improve the set-up of the bike," commented Hofmann, who set a best time of 1'43.78 after 73 laps.

"The tyre testing involved a couple of endurance runs, which are always hard work, but it was definitely worthwhile. We identified a tyre that we know would have worked well here in the race if only it had stayed dry on Sunday.

"Using this tyre I was able to improve upon my best time from Friday's practice and qualifying sessions - the only dry track time we got over the course of the weekend.

"At the end of the day we'd made a small improvement to the balance of the bike - the front feels good now, although we still have a little work to do on the rear. While the progress made was not the big leap forward we were hoping for, it was a step forward nonetheless."

MotoGP, 2004, Kawasaki Racing Team

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