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


MotoGP returned to America after an eleven-year absence today, with Kawasaki
riders Shinya Nakano and Alex Hofmann on track for three hours of free practice.

And they needed every minute of track time during day one of preparations for
Sunday's 32-lap USGP at Laguna Seca.

Both Nakano and Hofmann are newcomers to the hillside circuit near Monterey,
with its 11-turns and compact, rollercoaster layout.

Track knowledge is critical at this demanding track, a track that is completely
different in character to traditional European Grand Prix circuits.

Both Kawasaki riders say they are still to unravel the secrets of the infamous
Corkscrew section and the fast-flowing, downhill curves that follow.

Sixth gear is not required at all, and the full throttle potential of the 990cc
Ninja ZX-RR is only briefly explored.

At 255 kph the track has the lowest top speed on the MotoGP calendar with the
Ninja ZX-RR using fifth gear just once per lap, along the pit straight on the
approach to turn one.

An 85 kph first gear is used three times: at turns two and eleven, plus turn
eight, which is the breathtaking downhill entry to the infamous Corkscrew.

Today track conditions were dusty with a lack of grip in the opening morning
practice session of two hours. Grip levels improved slightly in the afternoon as
Kawasaki technicians worked through a busy programme of chassis, suspension,
gearbox and tyre combinations.

There is still a lot of work to be done with a further selection of Bridgestone
rear tyres to be evaluated, in parallel with engine management tuning and
suspension, to help control wheelspin.

Shinya Nakano: #56 - Twelfth - 1'25.309

"It's exciting to be here for the USGP, but my first laps of the circuit this
morning were a big surprise, especially the Corkscrew and the steep downhill
section that follows. However I still have some learning to do through this
section. I followed a couple of American riders and they have a better
understanding of the track from turns 8 to 11. It has been difficult to find
rear grip, the track surface is different from Europe, but if we can find a
chassis and tyre set-up I think the ZX-RR could suit this track with our strong
acceleration. On safety, I would like to see some more protection on the walls
that are close to the track, but otherwise I'm enjoying riding here."

Alex Hofmann: #66 - Fifteenth - 1'25.882

"In Europe we have never seen a track like this, so it is a little bit shocking
when you first ride a MotoGP bike here. The walls are close and there is not the
run-off areas we are used to at some corners. But I'm enjoying the layout, it is
physical and demanding, although quite bumpy. I could do with more rear grip,
but overall this track has the potential to suit the ZX-RR. And I still haven't
found my rhythm on the bike, the Corkscrew and I and not good friends at the
moment and I've got a lot of thinking to do about the direction to take with
set-up and learning he track."

Ichiro Yoda: Technical Director

"We are in search of traction and will continue our work with Bridgestone
tomorrow with another three rear tyres to evaluate. This track surface is new to
us, so we mainly have to look at rear spring and shock set-up, weight transfer
and engine tuning, to control wheelspin. And both Shinya and Alex are still
learning to fully understand the special nature of this circuit, it is quite
slow overall, we barely need fifth gear; fourth is okay."


 1. Nicky Hayden (USA) Repsol Honda            1'24.228
 2. Troy Bayliss (AUS) Camel Honda               +0.223
 3. Max Biaggi (ITA) Repsol Honda                +0.314
 4. Alex Barros (BRA) Camel Honda                +0.336
 5. John Hopkins (USA) Team Suzuki MotoGP        +0.451
 6. Colin Edwards (USA) Gauloises Yamaha Team    +0.468
 7. Sete Gibernau (SPA) Movistar Honda MotoGP    +0.574
 8. Marco Melandri (ITA) Movistar Honda MotoGP   +0.710
 9. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Gauloises Yamaha Team  +0.741
10. Carlos Checa (SPA) Ducati Marlboro Team      +0.814
11. Kenny Roberts (USA) Team Suzuki MotoGP       +1.037
12. Shinya Nakano (JPN) Kawasaki Racing Team     +1.081
15. Alex Hofmann (GER) Kawasaki Racing Team      +1.654