Press Release
(2005 FIM Road Racing World Championship)
Kawasaki Racing Team


For the first time in two months Alex Hofmann joined his factory Kawasaki
teammate Shinya Nakano on the track in today's free practice sessions at Mugello.

It was a successful return from injury for the 25-year-old German rider, who
completed a total of 36 laps during the two, one-hour sessions.

Hofmann finished 15th on the time sheets, with Nakano impressively tenth fastest
and less than a second behind the quickest time posted by Sete Gibernau.

Sunday's Italian Grand Prix will only be Hofmann's second race of the season
after being sidelined with a fractured ulna and scaphoid in his left wrist,
suffered when he fell in a MotoGP parade in Portugal in April.

An operation was required to insert a pin to repair the injury and Hofmann has
been undergoing intense physiotherapy treatment since the plaster cast was
removed only last week.

Hofmann completed today's practise session in a buoyant mood as he rebuilt his
confidence aboard his Ninja ZX-RR.

Meanwhile Nakano spent much of today evaluating race tyres and tried four
different rear tyre options from Bridgestone. The Japanese ace feels he has two
excellent race options on which he will complete further tests tomorrow.

The 5.2 km Mugello circuit places a huge demand on front-end feel and steering
response and this was the main area of set-up work by both riders and factory
technicians today.

The set-up work will continue tomorrow in advance of the afternoon one-hour
qualifying session to decide grid positions for Sunday's 23-lap race.

Also on the agenda tomorrow is the evaluation of a revised exhaust system
supplied by Kawasaki's technical partner Akrapovic.

Shinya Nakano: #56 - Tenth - (1'51.494)

"It wasn't such an easy day, it was quite hot and in the morning session I had
some set-up problems with braking stability and turn-in for the fast changes of
direction. We still need to fine-tune the front-end set-up and engine braking to
improve this area. The bike felt better in the afternoon session when I
concentrated on testing race tyres and I have identified two excellent options
from Bridgestone. I'm feeling good about being back on the ZX-RR after a three
week break and I'm not worried about my problems with the big crash here last

Alex Hofmann: #66 - Fifteenth (1'52.357)

"It's a really cool feeling to be back riding the ZX-RR, it's been a long and
difficult time away, especially watching the races on television. I'm still not
completely comfortable with my suspension set-up especially in the fast corners,
which is where you can attack on this track and pick-up time. But I'm sure that
will come with more time on the bike as I build my confidence. I can still feel
an occasional twinge in my wrist and this was only to be expected, but I was
able to ride this afternoon without any strapping and I know that come two
o'clock on Sunday and the race start I won't be thinking about it."

Ichiro Yoda: Technical Director

"I'm very happy to see Alex back on his ZX-RR and riding strongly. I thought it
may have been difficult for him after such a long time off the bike, but he has
displayed a good feeling in both sessions today. Our main challenge here is
front and rear chassis balance for all the fast changes of direction. A smooth
transition is critical to a fast lap time. Bridgestone have a new specification
front tyre here and so far it is performing impressively. Tomorrow we will
continue our evaluation of suspension and tyre combinations for the race, plus a
revised exhaust system."