Kawasaki factory riders, Shinya Nakano and Alex Hofmann, wrapped-up their preparations for the 2005 MotoGP World Championship Season at the Jerez circuit in southern Spain today.
On the third and final day of the IRTA test both Nakano and Hofmann recorded personal best performances at the 4.2 km circuit.
Over three days Nakano completed a total of 190 laps, for a fastest lap of 1'41.328, which is 1.4s faster than Valentino Rossi's current track record.
Hofmann posted 179 laps for a quickest time of 1'41.453, with the final day of testing being run in warm and dry, but slightly overcast conditions.
The final day programme for both riders was interrupted by some electrical and software problems, which took some time for Kawasaki technicians to resolve. Both Nakano and Hofmann are also seeking improved engine braking stability on corner entry.
A mechanical problem in the afternoon forced Nakano to switch to his spare bike, on which he set his fastest lap, despite this machine not having the Japanese rider's preferred set-up.
The test brought to a conclusion an exhausting series of winter tests, made all the more intense for the Kawasaki Racing Team by the introduction of the big-bang firing order engine specification in February.
The engine has already confirmed its increased performance potential over the previous 'screamer' version of the 990cc, in-line four cylinder motor.
Kawasaki Technical Director Ichiro Yoda has confirmed that both riders will race the big-bang motor in the Spanish GP at Jerez on April 10. The next phase of engine development will now continue in Japan, with further tests planned after the second race of the season at Estoril.
Shinya Nakano: #56 - 55 laps (1'41.328)
"Today was definitely not my day. But, despite the problems, I'm positive because it is better to have learnt these things in testing than to only find out next week when we are here for the first race. After the engine problem in my number one bike I had to switch to the spare, but I didn't have the same feeling with this set-up. I tried a qualifying tyre at the end and did a good time. Overall the test was a good outcome, and I'm much more confident than after the Barcelona test."
Alex Hofmann: #66 - 43 laps (1'41.453)
"I put a soft tyre in for my final quick time, but I didn't get the best out of that lap, I was a little disappointed with the time because I had done a 1.41.7 on race tyres. It was a difficult day until the team got the electrical problems sorted, so I never got into a good rhythm. But we are not far off, and I think we can look to the Jerez race with some confidence. I'm happy to finish testing, now I just want to go racing."
Ichiro Yoda: Technical Director
"Today neither Shinya nor Alex had a lot of time to go for fast laps, or to complete a race simulation. We had some engine management system software problems, which took time to correct. Shinya also had a motor problem, which stopped his main race bike. From this test we understand that we need more performance and to fine-tune the engine braking system. Although the performance level is not where we want it to be, we are in a good position considering we only started testing the big bang motor just seven weeks ago."