Following their points scoring finishes in yesterday's Czech Grand Prix Kawasaki riders, Shinya Nakano and Alex Hofmann, were back on track at the Brno circuit today, to continue the development of Kawasaki's Ninja ZX-RR MotoGP machine.
For Nakano, the aim of today's test was to evaluate the latest version of Kawasaki's 990cc, inline four-cylinder Ninja ZX-RR engine, comparing it during back-to-back tests with the bike that the Japanese rider took to twelfth place in yesterday's race.
With more revs and improved top end power from the revised engine, Nakano was able to match his lap times from yesterday's race, circulating the 5.4km Brno circuit today with a best time of 1'59.6s.
While his Japanese teammate concentrated on the engine, Hofmann's test schedule focussed on tyre testing with Bridgestone and the evaluation of revised chassis components on his Ninja ZX-RR.
The 25-year-old German rider tested a new specification front fork from Íhlins, which both Kawasaki riders have now confirmed improves stability of the Ninja ZX-RR under braking.
Hofmann also tested new carbon brakes from Brembo, designed to offer more consistent operation and improved durability under extreme high temperatures.
The Kawasaki pilot then completed his test schedule with two endurance runs for Bridgestone, using rear tyres with the same profile and construction - although with different compounds - to the tyre that took Loris Capirossi to a podium finish in yesterday's Czech Grand Prix.
Nakano will continue evaluation of the latest specification Ninja ZX-RR engine tomorrow, together with a revised exhaust system from Akrapovic. With near perfect test conditions at the Brno circuit today, Hofmann was able to complete his test programme ahead of schedule and will not ride alongside his teammate tomorrow.
Shinya Nakano: 1'59.6 (64 Laps);
"The latest engine is a definite improvement; I could feel straight away that there was more top-end power. The power also doesn't drop off as steeply at the top of the rev range, there's more over-rev, and this gives you more options on gear selection for some corners. I tried a shorter gear through some of the turns today that would not have been possible with the previous specification engine. We still have some development work to do, but first are positive."
Alex Hofmann: 1'59.9 (67 Laps);
"It's always hard testing after a race, but today's test has been very productive. The new brake discs and pads from Brembo worked well on the bike, although we won't really see the benefits of this new system until Motegi, which is always hard on brakes. We also tested a new specification front fork that improved the stability of the bike under braking. Finally I did two endurance runs for Bridgestone and, although it was hard work, I was happy to see that my lap times stayed consistent throughout."
Naoya Kaneko: Technical Coordinator;
"Shinya's feedback on the latest version of our Ninja ZX-RR engine was very positive, which confirms that our development programme is moving in the right direction. Shinya will continue the engine evaluation tomorrow using a slightly different exhaust system. Alex's comments about the new carbon brake set-up from Brembo were also positive, and we're confident that the new system will eliminate some of the problems that he suffered at Motegi last year."