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Kawasaki pair just outside top ten

Kawasaki pair just outside top ten

John Hopkins and Anthony West battled against rear traction problems to finish eleventh and twelfth respectively in the Malaysian heat on Sunday.

In their penultimate race together before Anthony West leaves Kawasaki Racing, the Australian and his Anglo-American teammate John Hopkins had similar difficulties to overcome in the Polini Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix.

John Hopkins - eleventh

`I got away from the start pretty well, but then I got pushed out wide a couple of times in the first lap, so I didn´t manage to make up as many places as I was hoping for. Initially the lap times were good, but as soon as the rear tyre started to go off I began having problems. We improved confidence in the front this weekend, so I was able to close right onto the back of (Chris) Vermeulen into the turns, but I was losing ground on the exit every time. The bike was just spinning off the edge of the rear tyre on the throttle, and it continued spinning once you´d picked it up onto the fat part of the tyre. With five laps to go the rear grip dropped off even more, giving me no chance of catching Randy de Puniet or Vermeulen before the end. Rear traction has been a consistent issue this season, and it´s an area that we need to look at very closely if we´re to fully understand the cause, and ensure that we don´t transfer the same problem to the 2009 bike. The result today was disappointing, because I really thought it was possible to get into the top ten. Hopefully we can end our season with a better result next weekend in Valencia.´

Anthony West - twelfth

`The start went pretty well, but then I got pushed out real wide in the first turn and lost all the places I´d made up at the start. Things weren´t too bad for the first part of the race; the rear was still spinning up out of the corners, but at least there was some drive. But as the rear tyre started to go off I started having problems going into the turn. It was a really strange feeling; the rear would break traction as I turned in off the throttle. It was worst at the downhill turn two where it really unsettled the bike on entry, but I could feel it everywhere to differing degrees. It´s quite hard to put in consistent lap times when you´re lacking rear grip on both corner entry and exit, but I just got my head down and did the best I could. Hopefully we can come up with some improvements for the season finale next weekend, as I´d really like to end my time at Kawasaki with a good result.´

MotoGP, 2008, POLINI MALAYSIAN MOTORCYCLE GRAND PRIX, Anthony West, John Hopkins, Kawasaki Racing Team

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