The Kawasaki Racing Team will be back to full strength with two factory riders, Shinya Nakano and Olivier Jacque, for the Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island.
Jacque is making a speedy recovery from the lower back and shoulder pain that forced him to withdraw from the recent Qatar Grand Prix after the first practice session.
The 32 year-old Frenchman has been having daily physiotherapy since returning to Europe, and has been given the all-clear by doctors to make a return to MotoGP at Phillip Island.
Scans and tests have confirmed that Jacque did not suffer any fractures or internal injuries from the low speed crash at the Losail Circuit. As Kawasaki's test rider, Jacque has been nominated to replace the injured Alex Hofmann at both the Australian and Turkish Grand Prix races.
A return to racing at Phillip Island is a perfect scenario for Jacque, who rates the ultra-fast, 4.4 km seaside circuit as one of his favourites. Jacque last raced at Phillip Island in 2003 when he finished sixth in the MotoGP race, while in 2000 at the same track he clinched the 250cc World Championship after a memorable race with Nakano.
Jacque's most recent visit to the Island was in February this year, when he acted as an instructor at an international riding school, alongside Australian bike stars Wayne Gardner and Daryl Beattie.
Since his impressive seventh place finish in the Qatar Grand Prix, Nakano has returned home to Japan to get accustomed to the Australian time zone in advance of Phillip Island.
While in Japan, Nakano has also spent time aboard a factory Ninja ZX-RR race bike, although not on the track, but static in a wind tunnel. The wind tunnel testing is part of Kawasaki's aerodynamic development programme for its MotoGP project.
With nine top ten results out of 14 races, Nakano has set some clear goals for the three remaining events of the season - Australia, Turkey and Valencia. He is keen to end the season as he started it, by backing-up his brilliant fifth place in the opening race at Jerez with another top five finish.
With its classic layout the Phillip Island circuit is rated as one of the most challenging tracks on the MotoGP calendar, combining a 320 kph straight with a flowing sequence of long, fast corners that require high lean angles and precise throttle control.
The panoramic location, overlooking Bass Strait, provides its own unique conditions - often gusty winds and the ever-present challenge of low-flying seagulls.
Shinya Nakano: #56;
"It is not easy being on the bike in a wind tunnel running at 180 kph. It's a surreal feeling, sometimes the wind force feels harder and more direct than at 300 kph out on the track. But it is an important job to assist the Kawasaki engineers to understand the aerodynamics for future development - and perhaps it is good training for Phillip Island. It is a great track, but sometimes the wind from the ocean can be a problem. As a rider you can have a lot of fun, especially in the high-speed sections. But for me the most important part, especially for overtaking, is through the hairpin and then the next turn, Siberia Corner - with the positive camber this is a challenging section, and a good set-up is critical. Top speed is also a key factor at the Island, and we have improved that with the latest engine upgrade, plus some more revs, so this should help to hold the slipstream with other riders. I want another top five place this season."
Olivier Jacque: #19;
"I know every millimetre of the Phillip Island track, it is one of my favourites, and I have very happy memories there. When I worked at the riding school in February I was reminded of some of the things that make this such a fantastic track. Like the final curve onto the straight, the speed is amazing, you come off this corner like a rocket - it is a great feeling. And the uphill left-hander to Lukey Heights, which is completely blind as you bank the bike over and just wait for the curve to finish! I cannot wait. Shinya has shown the potential of the latest motor and the new Bridgestone tyres, plus the ZX-RR has precise handling, which is critical at the Island. My condition is improving quickly and I must thank the doctors from the Clinica Mobile who helped me so much, both at the track and for treatment at the Doha hospital. I expect to be fully fit for the Phillip Island race."