“We've given ourselves quite a bit of work to do”
Qualifying practice for the third race of the 2008 MotoGP World Championship took place this afternoon at Estoril, in readiness for the Portuguese Grand Prix on Sunday, and both Kawasaki Racing Team riders slashed their previous
fastest times on race tyres.
Later, on qualifiers, John Hopkins managed 10th spot on tomorrow's grid, just 0.093 seconds off the man in front of him, current world champion, Casey Stoner. And the 24-year-old Anglo American did it in style: the complex layout of Estoril providing him with ample opportunity to display his ability to pull off some outrageous lean angles.
Anthony West claimed 15th position, putting in his best time of the event so far on his third qualifying tyre and the last lap of the session. Shaking his head as he returned to the pits, the Australian clearly wasn't happy with his performance but the improvement in his times, and increasing consistency on the bike, hint that there may be more to come.
The Ninja ZX-RR pilots have work to do tomorrow. Estoril is a hard track to ride, and notoriously difficult to pass at, and furthermore, working in partnership with Bridgestone, they will be aiming to infiltrate a Michelin-heavy front pack.
John Hopkins :
"Today we finalised our tyre choice for the race and found a durable combination, so I'm confident we have a good set-up. We will run the new specification chassis we tried for the first time yesterday, as this has given us more traction on a race tyre. The qualifying tyres lacked a bit of grip, and I made a few mistakes, which unfortunately put us on the fourth row. We've given ourselves quite a bit of work to do with the grid position we have but, if I can get a good start, we are capable of a good result."
Anthony West :
"I'm frustrated that we were unable to make any more of an impression today and the grid position isn't where I had hoped we would be. We still have a lot of improvements to make in order to obtain the lap times we want and we've been working hard to achieve this.
However, tomorrow is race day and I'm determined to get away from the start to fight for as many points as possible."