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Bartholemy talks Hopkins arrival and 2008 ZX-RR

Bartholemy talks Hopkins arrival and 2008 ZX-RR

The decision to recruit talented Anglo-American John Hopkins for their 2008 project has already produced promising early results for Kawasaki in pre-season testing, something that has come as no surprise to the team´s Competition Manager Michael Bartholemy.

The decision to recruit talented Anglo-American John Hopkins for their 2008 project has already produced promising early results for Kawasaki in pre-season testing, something that has come as no surprise to the team´s Competition Manager Michael Bartholemy.

"I actually took the decision to go with Hopkins last April and at that stage it wasn't so easy to convince people around me we could make that step: his results hadn't been the best," Bartholemy explained on the team website.

"However, at the end of the race in Valencia, I went to the trailer and looked at the final points tables. First was Casey Stoner, who stayed with Ducati; then Dani Pedrosa, who stayed with Honda; then Valentino Rossi, who's contracted to Yamaha. In other words, the first rider on that table, the top scoring rider who was able to change teams, was Hopkins, who we'd chosen in April, and he wanted to come to Kawasaki. That says something.

"I would have said that it was impossible to get someone like Hopkins a year ago. But we have. It's not as if he's the only one who was interested either. I think perhaps it was the first time some racers thought of Kawasaki as a real option for them. For sure, the 2007 season has changed our lives and has changed us in the eyes of other people in MotoGP, because they now perceive us as a proper factory team," added a proud Bartholemy.

Whilst ‘Team Green' are by no means newcomers to MotoGP, 2007 marked the first year of a new era for the factory. The World Championship project was taken in-house for the start of 800cc racing, and the team were one of those most pressed by time in the creation of their new bike. The turnaround was nothing short of phenomenal, and stands Kawasaki in good stead for the resumption of testing in 11 days time.

"I said if we could finish ninth in the championship, I'd be happy, because before then, Kawasaki's best result had been tenth (twice) so it was a dream that we could beat that. But I knew it would be difficult. Now, at the end of the season, it is easy to see that the bike and our technical package were capable of better than ninth but hey, we managed eleventh and actually, I'm pretty pleased with that after our first year.

"Bits and pieces still need to be finalised for the 2008 bike. January is really the target for me, for it all to be absolutely spot on, but even if it takes until the first IRTA test in February, I will be happy," explained the Competition Manager on what is believed to be simply an updated version of the successful 2007 Ninja ZX-RR.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2008, Kawasaki Racing Team

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