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Dec 17, 2002

Rain Intrudes On Kawasaki MotoGP Testing In Malaysia

From a press release issued by Fuchs Kawasaki:<BR><BR>GARRY MCCOY: QUICK PROGRESS DESPITE RAIN<BR><BR>Sepang ­ Tuesday, December 17th, 2002:<BR><BR>In only his second flying lap on the second day of testing in Malaysia, Team Kawasaki Racing's new star Garry McCoy slashed more than one-and-a-half seconds from his previous best time aboard the new Kawasaki Ninja ZX-RR MotoGP prototype. His rapid progress with a new and stronger swingarm came to a halt when a tropical downpour soaked the track. McCoy went out again in the afternoon but was slowed once again, this time with an oil pressure problem caused by some mysterious residue in the oil system of his machine. In order to make the best out of the waiting time while his mechanics performed an engine change, McCoy completed the day with a few laps aboard the bike of Andrew Pitt.<BR><BR>McCoy's Australian teammate Pitt and Kawasaki test riders Akira Yanagawa and Alex Hofmann also tried some new chassis solutions, but were stopped halfway through their scheduled testing program when another violent rain shower came down in the afternoon. Hofmann continued with some rain tyre testing and won the team award of the "Slide of the Day" competition, when his rear wheel stepped out so violently that he went sideways for almost 100 meters. Computer data confirmed how well Hofmann did to save it: Whereas the front wheel went into the right direction at a modest 170 kph, the rear wheel spun up to 235 kph!<BR><BR>Garry McCoy (15 laps ­ best time in 2:07.5):<BR>"We tried a different swing arm today, something I thought the bike needed at my very first test in Valencia already. The bike was a lot easier to ride for me, a lot more user-friendly compared to what I've used before. The lap time was good, and it's good to drop so much so quickly, in one hit. Step by step, we keep going the right direction. But I still think it can be better again. Including in an out laps, I'd only done five laps this morning before the rain came down, so I'd really like to try this chassis much more. As a next step. I'd like to use a few different set-ups, with the shock, with the linkage or with different angles on the front. We just need more laps, and unfortunately, today wasn't that day. Now we are running out of time, because there is only one day of testing left, and you can only do so much. It didn't help much to go out on Andrew's bike. It's too different. He has his own settings, and all the lever positions, for feet and hands, were so different to what I'm used to or how I like it. It's too hard to go quick on a bike that just isn't set up for you!"<BR><BR>Andrew Pitt (21 laps ­ best time in 2:08.6):<BR>"Today was easy on the body! This morning I went out with a new chassis that has a different geometry and different pivot points, and I did a good time on my second or third lap. That was promising, but then the rain came, and I had to stop for a good while. I went out this afternoon again, trying different rear shock settings, but we lost quite some of the positives that we had in the morning. Now, we have to try some other things in the morning. It's obvious that we need to do more laps with this new frame!"<BR><BR>Alex Hofmann (32 laps ­ best time in 2:09.7):<BR>"Today's plan was to test a new slipper clutch and some more tyres, but then the rain spoiled things a bit. I didn't even have a chance to go for a few fast laps when it was dry in the morning, because we had to adjust the clutch and I needed a while to get used to it. In wet conditions in the afternoon, we finally worked out how to use the clutch properly. At the end of the day, I compared two sets of rain tires. On the set that didn¹t work so well, I had a big slide. For well over 85 meters, the rear wheel was spinning more than 40 kph faster than the front. That was a lot of fun ­ my next goal is to do the same thing in dry conditions!"<BR><BR>Akira Yanagawa (20 laps ­ best time in 2:08.6):<BR>"Today, we tried another frame with a different pivot position. This frame provides more stroke for the rear shock, but I still had a chatter problem. I think the problem stems from the rear, but it is not completely clear yet. We also tried many different mappings for the injection again. Some of the settings are better, but still not perfect. We need more time for testing. But anyway, my lap time was one second faster than yesterday, which is not so bad!"<BR><BR>Harald Eckl ­ Team Manager:<BR>"The good news is that Garry and Akira went a lot quicker today. But unfortunately, the day was cut short by the rain, and we couldn't confirm all of our changes on the chassis and the set-up of the bikes. We hope for better conditions tomorrow!"