Kawasaki Testing in Malaysia

Kawaski GP team is now testing in Malaysia

The following press release was issued by Kawasaki...

On their first two days of testing in the new year at Sepang, Malaysia, Kawasaki Racing Team stars Garry McCoy (seen at right) and Andrew Pitt slashed their previous best times on the Malaysian circuit by almost a full second.

Small improvements on the chassis and suspension settings of the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-RR MotoGP racer made all the difference in the bike¹s handling on the exit of the turns, with further improvements being expected from a new chassis featuring an adjustable swing arm pivot.

Japanese test rider Akira Yanagawa also rode to his best Sepang lap time so far, after having solved chattering problems on his Ninja ZX-RR. German Alex Hofmann continued his task of Dunlop tire testing aboard a previous prototype of the Ninja ZX-RR with carburetors instead of the new fuel-injected version, concentrating on the best possible input for tire manufacturer Dunlop rather than the chase for the best lap time around the fast and challenging Sepang circuit.

Garry McCoy (39/33 laps ­ best time in 2:06.55):

"I had a few dramas on the first day, because someone had stolen my boots and my gloves. I had to borrow a set from Alex Hofmann, which are a size under mine, and by lunch time, I had sore toes. Luckily enough, another box with Alpinestars gear arrived in the afternoon, and my worries were over. As far as the bike goes, we started off with the settings from our last test, and the problem that we had back then in December occurred again. On the exit of the turns, it seemed to be hard to get on the gas, there was a lot of pumping on the rear end, and if you got on the gas real hard anyway, the bike would buck like a wild horse and wasn¹t very comfortable to ride at all. We started to fix the problem in the afternoon, and today, I got more of a feeling for the bike. Having less rear shock pumping gave me additional confidence and allowed me to go a little bit harder, which is why I improved my lap time by almost one second. Today, we also used a new chassis with an adjustable pivot point for the first time. I¹d requested this chassis back in December after doing a few laps on Akira Yanagawa's bike, which had a different swing arm pivot and seemed to suit my riding style very much. We first wanted to confirm that the new chassis did similar lap times and that it actually felt the same, so we started off the way we left off with the older chassis instead of going straight to a different pivot position.

"When we later on wanted to go through the first changes on the pivot point, it started to rain. It¹s unfortunate that the weather put us out, but tomorrow is another day, and I¹m looking forward to see what more we can achieve!"

Andrew Pitt (40/44 laps ­ best time in 2:06.80):

"We made some steps forward again which is good. We tried some different tires, we tried some different rear shocks, and we made the bike more comfortable to ride. Even though Garry is using a different swingarm and different settings to mine, I initially had the same pumping problem. It seems to be one of the characteristics of this bike, because it always had this pumping problem exiting the turns over the bumps, and it is something we are all trying to improve. Well, we reduced it quite a bit today, and when you reduce that, it gives you more confidence to open the throttle harder. For tomorrow, we have a couple of more things with the chassis to try. We'll give it a shot with what Garry had today, basically trying to get the bike even more comfortable, to improve the confidence-feeling and to make it a bit easier to do good lap times!"

Alex Hofmann (49/35 laps ­ best time in 2:09.01):

"I caught a cold on new year's eve, and I was ill on the days leading up to this test session. Therefore, I needed a while to find back to my rhythm and to feel good on the bike again. We haven't changed much on the set-up since our December tests in order to get the same feedback from the bike and the tires, and we just continued to go through many different tire constructions and tire compounds. We did a lot of work that doesn¹t reflect in better lap times: Whenever I would have very good grip, the bike would start to chatter, but I didn¹t really have a chance to work on fine-tuning our settings. Whereas the others built up and improved their chassis set-up step by step, I just kept sorting through stacks of tires!"

Akira Yanagawa (40/33 laps ­ best time in 2:07.08):

"I am happy with my progress, but my lap time is still slow ­ 2:07 is not fast enough! We initially had chatter problems, which we almost fixed by this afternoon, thanks to another linkage system for the rear suspension, which felt really nice. But once the chatter was gone, the next problem arrived. The front now feels too soft, I don't have a lot of confidence going into turns. We then changed the front fork set-up, but then the rain came. The nicest surprise apart from the different linkage system was a new Dunlop tire that I tried just before the track got soaked ­ it was so good that I dropped my lap time instantly by more than half a second!"
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George Obradovich
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