MotoGP As bad as it gets for Kawasaki.
Saturday, 30th August 2008

Kawasaki riders John Hopkins and Anthony West qualify in the bottom two positions at Misano.

Kawasaki riders John Hopkins and Anthony West will start alongside each other at the back of the field in Sunday's San Marino Grand Prix.

After missing all of Friday's track action, Hopkins struggled to make up for lost time as he battled front-end difficulties throughout both of the one-hour sessions and was left in 17th position.

"It's been a real task today as we've been on the back foot because I had to sit out practice yesterday," admitted John. "My rib injury is definitely improving and I feel much more comfortable on the bike, but a lack of time on track has caused us quite a headache.

"We've struggled mainly with the front-end of the machine and this track is completely different from Brno, so we had a lot of setting changes to make. I had to squeeze a lot into the two hours on track and we had to wait until the afternoon heat, which will be similar to that of the race, before we could try to find a useable race tyre. Then we had to fit in qualifying too, and our final position today reflects this.

"My crew chief has a lot of ideas about the areas we need to change and we will review the data overnight to see where we can make significant improvements during tomorrow's warm-up."

West saw a continuation of the troubles he came across in Friday practice and had no confidence in the front-end of his machine. The 27-year-old made radical set-up changes to try to improve feedback from the front, but this brought no real joy, leaving him 18th and last.

"It's frustrating to come here after such a great weekend in Brno only to end up at the back of the field," said the Australian. "We tried many different set-up changes to provide me with more confidence in the front of the bike, but nothing really brought much of an improvement. I can't brake hard into the turns, and this makes it difficult to put a fast lap together. We have to find an improvement overnight and I am sure that tomorrow's race will be tough, but we have to keep pushing forwards to achieve the results we have shown we are capable of."