At Donington Park
Kawasaki's Anthony West stormed to his first top ten finish of the season in today's British Grand Prix at Donington Park, after finally overcoming the traction problems that have plagued him since the beginning of the season.
West, who qualified
in seventh position on the grid in the wet yesterday, rode superbly aboard his Bridgestone-shod machine, lapping consistently throughout the 30-lap race around the 4.023km circuit. The Kawasaki pilot came under pressure late on in the race, but was able to up his pace sufficiently to retain tenth place at the chequered flag.
West is now looking forward to Assen, one of his more favoured circuits, as upgrades to his race machine should further assist his quest to get a season that's been hampered by problems well and truly back on track.
John Hopkins was left frustrated today, as a technical issue with his Ninja ZX-RR forced him out of the race on lap seventeen, but it was an eventful race for the Kawasaki pilot even before this problem brought it to a premature end.
After a good start from 11th place on the grid, the Anglo-American was baulked at turn one, Redgate Corner, when James Toseland highsided out of contention right in front of him and Hopkins had to take evasive action to avoid the Briton's fallen machine. The gritty 25-year-old, who is still carrying a back injury sustained at Catalunya, fought his way up to tenth position, just ahead of his teammate, before being sidelined by an electrical fault on his Ninja ZX-RR.
While Kawasaki's engineers investigate the cause of the problem, Hopkins is looking to make amends in the Dutch TT at Assen, which takes place in just six days time.
Anthony West (10th) : « This result shows exactly what we are capable of and I hope it will only get better from here. The bike finally feels rideable, and I was able to push right up until the end of the race, so I'm really pleased with a top ten finish. We've made a massive step forward and I feel so much more confident in the wet or dry than I have done previously. In the closing stages I came under quite a lot of pressure from Toni Elias and Randy de Puniet, but I was able to respond and maintain a good lap time throughout. The machine set-up felt good, as did the Bridgestone tyres, and although there are many more improvements to be made, I really believe we can work on these. The next round at Assen is one of my more favoured tracks so I'm really looking forward to racing there. »
John Hopkins : « "It's difficult to express how frustrated I feel after today's race. I got away from the start pretty well, but then Toseland highsided right in front of me exiting the first turn and, while he slid off the track, I had to brake almost to a standstill to avoid his bike. This left me dead last on the opening lap, but I got my head down and fought my way back through the field, eventually passing Anthony to take tenth position. I think it was possible to close the gap on the group ahead of me, but then the bike just stopped at the Old Hairpin. Obviously we need to figure out what caused the problem, but with the next race less than one week away I don't want to dwell on what went wrong today but, rather, look forward to making amends next weekend in Assen. »
Michael Bartholemy - Kawasaki Competition Manager : « I am very happy for Anthony because he has ridden well in both the wet and dry conditions throughout the weekend. This proves that as a team we were right to stick by him. I have always believed we made a good choice in Anthony, and today he was able to ride a solid race to achieve our aim of a top ten finish. Today has been disappointing for John, as he has worked so hard whilst carrying a back injury. He fought to a good position before being ruled out of the race due to a technical issue. This problem is now under investigation and we will look to resolve it, wherever the trouble lies. »