Adverse weather on opening day at Jerez
It was relaxed return to the track today for the Kawasaki Racing Team and their MotoGP rivals, as a storm yesterday followed by intermittent rain this morning saw most riders opting to await the arrival of better weather and dryer
track conditions in their respective pit boxes.
The rain finally stopped mid-morning, after which both Randy de Puniet and Olivier Jacque took the opportunity to test the wet weather balance of their 800cc Ninja ZX-RR machines for the first time, completing a total of fifteen laps between them.
With the skies clear by midday, and an increasing breeze helping to dry out the track surface, de Puniet and Olivier were left with only three hours of track time when they finally got down to testing proper.
Despite the improvement in the weather, track conditions remained unpredictable, so both Kawasaki pilots concentrated on further refining the set-up of their Ninja ZX-RR machines, at a track that differs completely in character to Sepang and Qatar, the only other circuits at which the Kawasaki Racing Team have tested this season.
Although not looking for a fast lap on the opening day, de Puniet managed to complete 33 laps in total, to finish sixth fastest overall with a time of 1'43.315s.
Jacque, now completely recovered from the crash that sidelined him from the recent Qatar test, completed 31 laps during the late afternoon, eventually ending the session 13th fastest with a time of 1'44.659s.
Randy de Puniet: 6th - 40 Laps - Best Lap 1'43.315
"It was a hard session today because of the weather. In the wet my feeling with the bike was quite good.
In the afternoon, we had to wait a long time before the track dried out a little and we could try in almost dry conditions. There were some wet patches in a couple of turns, so it made no sense to push too hard. I concentrated on getting used to the circuit and found a base set up to work on for tomorrow. The most important days will be tomorrow and Sunday."
Olivier Jacque: 13th - 39 laps - Best Lap 1'44.659
"Yesterday I was a little bit worried but today I can say that I am almost 100% fit, but certainly recovered from the crash. Due to the bad weather we only had two hours in the afternoon to work and it was important not to rush. It was a long time since I rode here last and coming from two fast circuits, this one is surprisingly small! Anyway, I got used to it quickly and enjoyed riding the bike a lot. For the first day, everything worked all right."
Naoya Kaneko: Technical Manager
"Today, we tested our new machine in wet conditions and the first impressions were quite good. We confirmed that the balance of the machine works well in wet conditions without doing any major changes. We need to be faster but, for being the first time, speed wasn't so bad. In the afternoon session, we were able to try in the dry and we saw many points where we need to improve to get consistent lap times. Our base set up, though, is working here as well, we just need to make some small adjustments."