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Kawasaki confident of overcoming Qatar temperature difficulties

Kawasaki confident of overcoming Qatar temperature difficulties

Identifying low track temperatures as a severe limiting factor in their preparations for the Commercialbank Grand Prix of Qatar, Kawasaki are not panicking just yet ahead of the season-opening showdown.

Identifying low track temperatures as a severe limiting factor in their preparations for the Commercialbank Grand Prix of Qatar, Kawasaki are not panicking just yet ahead of the season-opening showdown.

New addition John Hopkins is still at what he estimates to be 80% fitness after a month carrying a groin injury, whilst Team Greens other rider Anthony West had a less-than-ideal start to 800cc night riding with a crash and times outside the top ten over the course of the two night official test.

It´s not been easy for us as with John´s injury we still can´t make progress as quickly as we´d like, notes Competition Manager Michael Bartholemy. I was expecting a better overall performance during this test, but I know that we can improve before next Friday when we start practicing again for the first race of the championship.

The track temperature was not helpful, as this has caused us some trouble with the tyres, but we have worked with Bridgestone for many years and I am confident we will come up with a solution for next week, said the Belgian in assessment of the first night test at the Losail International Circuit.

Whilst Hopkins was hindered by soreness and eager to avoid worsening his condition with a repeat of his 2007 crash at Losail, the Anglo-American still managed to clear up a few pending issues regarding next Sundays race. He also singled out what he believes could be the key issue of the season-opener; the track temperatures that dipped to a low of 13°C at one point last weekend.

The results were positive as we slashed a second off Thursday´s lap time on a race tyre. We also reduced the allocation of tyres we had available to us at the beginning of the test and we know which selection we´re going to use for the race, said Hopkins after the final preseason testing session. I´m feeling confident and competitive on race tyres, although we didn´t try any qualifiers today. The conditions are very cold out on track but it´s the same for everybody; I think this may be the biggest factor during the race.

Hopkins team-mate West further expanded on the temperature concern, putting his comparatively slow times down to caution more than anything else.

The low track temperature means that you can´t push so hard on a qualifier on your out lap, otherwise you just tear it up. But when you take it easy on the out lap then the front tyre cools down on the left hand side, which is a big problem when you arrive at turn two on your flying lap, explained the Australian.

I saw a couple of riders go down there during the final hour of the test, and with the race just over one week away, I didn´t want to suffer the same fate by pushing too hard. Basically, that´s why I didn´t see the improvement in lap times that we´d normally expect from a qualifying tyre.

Whilst Hopkins has headed to Dubai to enjoy a short break with new wife Ashleigh, West and his Team Manager both took in further race action at the Class One Powerboat Grand Prix at Doha Corniche, as guests of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation. The Australian was invited to drop the flag to mark the start of the race, and also had a high speed trip in the series pace boat.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2008, Kawasaki Racing Team

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