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First day of English visit sees Kawasaki looking stronger

First day of English visit sees Kawasaki looking stronger

John Hopkins and Anthony West finished Friday´s opening practice sessions at Donington Park in a confident mood, after improvements to their machine set-up.

Kawasaki´s John Hopkins bravely ended Friday´s sessions just a fraction of a second outside of the top ten, despite suffering from the discomfort of a back injury sustained in practice at Catalunya. The 25-year-old Anglo-American wisely used the day´s dry track time to run through various Bridgestone race tyre combinations ahead of Saturday´s qualifying session, which is predicted to be wet.

Anthony West completed the day just over two tenths of a second behind his teammate in a promising twelfth position. Following a recent test in Japan, the Australian has altered the settings of his Kawasaki, which has significantly improved the stability and rear traction of his race machine on corner exit.

John Hopkins - eleventh

`This circuit is quite demanding and it is pretty tough on my back injury. I´m having trouble lifting my leg and shifting through the gears in the tight, quick changes of direction. It´s a fight, but we´re working through it and the bike feels really good. We´ve got a few areas to improve on the chassis, but the post-race test at Catalunya has definitely proven positive. We ran through different tyre options today to see what would be a good race tyre in the dry, as the weather is quite unpredictable and we´re not sure what the conditions will be like tomorrow. We have a few changes to make to the machine overnight, but I´m confident we can step it up a gear and we´ll be working hard to qualify well here.´

Anthony West - twelfth

`Finally I can say that we´ve managed to make a real step forward with the rear traction problems we have suffered with for so long. The recent test in Japan was positive and this has been proven on the track today, as we´re not so far off the pace. The setting we have found does mean the bike now wheelies more, however this is much easier to deal with than not being able to exit the turns. We still need to improve the first part of corner exit, but the rear is gripping much better and driving forward out of the turns rather than spinning so much, which means it feels a lot more controllable and stable than previously. I hope that this improvement can be reflected on qualifying rubber tomorrow, and although there is still a lot of work to do, I feel confident that we are heading in the right direction.´

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

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