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Frustrating weekend for Alex Hofmann

Frustrating weekend for Alex Hofmann

Frustrating weekend for Alex Hofmann

Alex Hofmann had a weekend to forget at Le Mans as a series of mechanical problems with his Kawasaki Ninja ZX-RR wrecked his chances of a points-scoring finish at the Grand Prix Polini de France.

The German MotoGP rookie got off on the wrong foot on Friday when he struggled to find a comfortable set-up during the morning - his problems exacerbated by a couple of minor technical glitches in the afternoon.

"I wish we could start today again to be honest" he said at the time. "We haven't really made the progress with the bike we were hoping to during today's two practice sessions. For some reason the bike just hasn't felt right on track and whatever changes we tried didn't seem to improve things.

"We need to go through the data tonight to see if we can identify where we can make improvements. Although we're now under pressure to get everything sorted in the limited track time we have available tomorrow, I have the utmost confidence in my crew and I'm sure they'll pull something out of the bag once again."

However, things would only get worse on Saturday, Hofmann matching his best provisional qualifying time on race tyres in the morning only for both of his bikes to break down in the afternoon after just four laps, forcing him to sit out the rest of the final qualifying session.

"What can I say?," mused the 23 year old afterwards. "It's disappointing enough when you miss out on part of a qualifying session due to a small problem with the bike, but to miss virtually the whole of this afternoon's session is so frustrating.

"Worse still is the fact that we'd make big steps forward with the bike during free practice this morning, to the point where I was able to match my qualifying times from yesterday on race tyres. Obviously we were looking to build on these improvements during final qualifying this afternoon, but mechanical problems put paid to that idea.

"Starting from so far down the grid there will be no room for a race strategy tomorrow; it's just going to be a case of getting my head down and going as hard as I can from the off if I am to finish in the points."

Unfortunately for Hofmann, his disastrous weekend was complete on Sunday, when his bike packed in for the final time, ending his race after just six laps. "This is definitely one weekend I want to forget," he reflected. "My crew worked really hard to rebuild both bikes overnight and after setting my fastest lap of the weekend in morning warm up hopes were high for this afternoon's race.

"I didn't get such a good start, but I'd settled into a rhythm and started working my way up the field when the rear started sliding around and the engine suddenly lost power, leaving me with no other option but to retire.

"I'm so frustrated, not just for myself but also for my crew. The boys have worked real hard this weekend and they didn't deserve to be repaid with a mechanical failure in the race. Hopefully we can put this weekend behind us and concentrate on preparing for the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello in two week's time."

Tags:
MotoGP, 2004, GRAND PRIX POLINI DE FRANCE

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