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MotoGP - Nakano Confident After Philip Island Test - February 2nd 2006


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    The Kawasaki Racing Team managed to complete their planned test schedule at Phillip Island, as the wet and windy weather of yesterday was replaced with almost perfect conditions for today's third, and final, day of testing.

    After setting the fastest time in the wet yesterday, Shinya Nakano took advantage of today's dry conditions to continue work on the base set-up of his all-new Ninja ZX-RR. The Japanese rider and his crew worked through a programme of rear suspension changes, which eliminated the chatter problems experienced during the first day of testing on Tuesday.

    Nakano also worked his way through an intense tyre-testing schedule for Bridgestone, with positive results. The Japanese tyre manufacturer supplied evaluation tyres with revised profiles and compounds for this test, designed to combat problems Nakano experienced during the race at Phillip Island three months ago.

    The Kawasaki rider spent the afternoon session trying different braking points and lines through the turns aboard his Ninja ZX-RR, ending the day by improving on his qualification time from the Australian Grand Prix in October.

    Nakano's Kawasaki teammate, Randy de Puniet, also concentrated today on alleviating chatter from the rear of his Ninja ZX-RR, eventually finding an improvement after working through different rear suspension specifications and settings with his crew.

    After evaluating four new rear tyres for Bridgestone, the 24-year-old Frenchman then went on to complete a 20-lap race simulation, setting his fastest time of the test on lap 17.

    The Kawasaki Racing Team's final overseas pre-season test will take place at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia, starting on Tuesday 14th February.

    Shinya Nakano: #56 - 1'30.59 (78 Laps)"The focus today has been on tyre testing with Bridgestone, and also continuing the work from Tuesday to find a good base setting on the new bike. I also spent a lot of time working on my riding today, trying different braking points and lines through the turns to see if I could improve on my lap time. Overall, I'm happy with what we've achieved here. Despite the rain yesterday we've managed to complete our test programme and we leave here with a good base set-up on the bike. We still have some work to do with a revised version of the new engine at the next test but, based on the two tests so far, I'm confident that we'll arrive at Jerez for the first race with a very competitive bike in the new Ninja ZX-RR."

    Randy de Puniet: #17 - 1'31.77 (100 Laps)"Overall this has been a good test for me, but I was hoping to make a bigger improvement to my lap time today. We were still struggling with chatter, although we did make some improvements towards the end of the day after working through different suspension settings on the rear of the bike. I learnt a lot during the wet testing yesterday, and my times during the race simulation today were consistent, but without the chatter problem I know I could have gone faster. We have a few days off now, but I'm looking forward to getting back on the bike in Sepang, where I'll obviously be looking to improve on my lap time from the previous test there."

    Ichiro Yoda: KHI Technical Manager"We had some chatter problems in the dry during the first day of the test, but today we found a suspension set-up for both riders that improved this situation. There is still some chatter, but it is now at an acceptable level. We also tested a number of new tyres from Bridgestone, featuring different profiles and compounds, and we discovered that some reduced the chatter, but also had reduced grip, while with others the grip was good, but they made the chatter problem worse. We also continued testing the new engine, with some changes to make the bike easier to ride, and we will continue with this direction for the next test at Sepang, where the riders have also asked for a little more top end power. Finally, we also evaluated a revised cowling on the bike, designed to increase airflow and improve cooling."

    Harald Eckl: Team Manager"I'm quite satisfied with what we've achieved here and in Sepang, we have made a good step forward with the new bike. In the past we've had some tyre problems at Phillip Island, specifically with grip on the right hand side, but the new tyres that Bridgestone brought to this test work well here, and I think we can be confident in the performance when we return to Phillip Island to race. Shinya was the fastest rider in the wet yesterday, which also proves the performance of Bridgestone's wet weather tyres. We leave here happy with the progress made with chassis and tyres. At the next Sepang test we will focus on the engine, to improve driveability and top end power, and the KHI engineers are already very busy preparing new engine components for us to test. Overall, the two tests at Sepang and Phillip Island have been very productive for us."