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Donington visit provides litmus tests for Kawasaki duo

Donington visit provides litmus tests for Kawasaki duo

For John Hopkins and Anthony West, this weekend´s visit to Britain will be something of a moment of truth.

The British Grand Prix will provide resolution to two pending issues for the Kawasaki Racing team, particular to riders John Hopkins and Anthony West. The former will find out just how much his back injury –suffered in a crash at the last round in Catalunya- has healed, whilst the latter will discover if a testing trip to Japan has helped to resolve his rear grip problems with the Ninja ZX-RR.

`In the lead up to the last two races I had been training very hard so thankfully I haven´t lost any fitness, which is always a problem when carrying injuries, and I've had the chance to rest to help the healing process,´ says Hopkins ahead of the Donington date. The Anglo-American gritted his teeth through a one day post-race test in Barcelona, with a view to a positive result at this latest race.

` I´m still very stiff and sore, but Donington Park is like a home away from home, and it's a track I definitely enjoy. For me the British race is one of the biggest races of the season, with many members of my family coming to support me, and regardless of my injury I´ll be looking to gain a strong result aboard the Kawasaki.´

Under pressure to perform one year on from his Kawasaki debut, West is riding for his future at every round of the 2008 season. The rain may, as it did last year, play into the Australian´s hands at Donington Park, and his visit to the land of the rising sun last week was devised with the purpose of preparing him for this and future outings.

`After Catalunya I flew to Japan to complete two days of intensive testing. Unfortunately the first day was rained off, but we managed to get quite a few laps in on day two and the results were positive. We focussed particularly on changing the engine settings to improve the overall handling of the machine and we found a set-up direction that's very different from what I´m used to,´ says an optimistic West.

`The bike felt really good, but the track had a lot more grip in comparison to those we race on in MotoGP, so the real test for the changes we´ve made will be this weekend at Donington Park. Last year we gained a strong result during my first outing on the Ninja ZX-RR and I hope that with the work we´ve done in the last week, we can be back where we belong in the top ten.´

MotoGP, 2008, BRITISH GRAND PRIX, John Hopkins, Anthony West, Kawasaki Racing Team

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