During Catalunya qualifying
Kawasaki's John Hopkins bravely qualified in 14th position for tomorrow's Grand Prix of Catalunya, after riding with an injured back sustained in a turn two highside during Friday's practice.
Hopkins was determined to make up for the loss
of valuable track time to set up his Ninja ZX-RR around the Catalunya circuit, after crashing heavily seven laps into yesterday afternoon's practice.
The battered and bruised Anglo-American rode through the pain barrier during today's sessions, busying himself with finding a good race pace, whilst suffering with severe discomfort from the painful back injury.
The 25-year-old used this morning's practice to identify the best tyre combination for the race and although he was hoping for a better grid position during qualifying, Hopkins remains determined to put the recent setbacks he has encountered behind him. The Kawasaki pilot will work together with his crew overnight to make further improvements to the set-up of his machine, and he will receive further treatment on his injury in preparation for tomorrow's 25-lap race.
Teammate Anthony West had a difficult qualifying session around the 4.727km circuit, finishing in 17th position on the grid. The 26-year-old Australian's second qualifying run came to a premature end when an electrical problem brought his Ninja ZX-RR to a halt on the back part of the circuit.
West rushed back to the Kawasaki pit box, with the aim of completing his final two qualifying runs aboard his spare machine, but the session was brought to a close before he was able to exit pit lane.
“It's been difficult to ride today because I've never had a back injury before and I'm in quite a lot of pain. I'm finding it hard to breathe properly in places, particularly on left-hand turns, and when riding at this level with the strains put on the body at the speeds we're traveling, it's tough going. However, we have a good race pace despite the lost track time and we have to stay focused. Overnight we're going to look at some areas to improve the set-up as we're suffering with some lack of grip, particularly at the apex of the turns, and I think with a few adjustments we can improve our lap time. I'd have liked to have qualified a bit higher up the grid, but tomorrow I'm going to go out and give it my all.”
“We made some improvements to the front-end of the machine yesterday, so practice today was all about finding a better set-up in the rear. We made a few changes but unfortunately it didn't really bring the results we were hoping for, and I'm still suffering with grip troubles. During my second qualifying run we encountered a problem with the machine, and we ran out of time to go back out on track, which was also very frustrating. Tomorrow we have to make the best of what we have and try to get a good result in the race.”