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GP Week : Issue 24
>>Moto GPnews Nakano enjoys first factory bike ride SHINYA Nakano had his best result of the year at Brno, after HRC gave him a factory bike to replace his usual satellite-team machine, finishing fourth after moving through the field, overtaking other riders for almost the first time all year. One effect was to raise the rev ceiling of his V4 from something like 17,000 rpm to more than 19,000. The factory bike also has an updated chassis. His machine was to the same spec as that ridden by Hayden earlier in the year. “The engine is more powerful and responds better in acceleration and top speed,” he said. “The feeling with the chassis is better as well.” But he was troubled by the lack of set-up time, with only Friday fully dry to help arrive at settings; and the team was still working on basic adjustments for morning warm-up. “We took another step forward with the new bike today,”he said. “We came to Brno without any test data, but the team did a great job.” With class rookie Dovizioso having achieved much better results on his satellite Honda, the experienced Nakano was not the most obvious candidate – but he has two major advantages. Firstly, he is thought to be favourite to take over from Okada as factory tester, as the current test-rider moves on into his forties. More importantly his team uses Bridgestone tyres, giving HRC a chance to assess the performance of the factory machine on the tyres. Kawasaki upgrades move green team forward KAWASAKI had new engine and chassis parts for Brno, that offered improvements in all areas of performance, and helped second rider Anthony West to fifth, by far his best result of the season. Team-mate and senior rider John Hopkins spoiled his chances with a tyre-choice gamble that didn’t pay off, though he had qualified on the front row and ran strongly in the early laps. Hopkins cited “a huge difference” from the new engine spec. “The bike has more horsepower and improved power management,”he said. “The chassis upgrade has helped it turn better into the corners. It’s a big improvement on the bike I rode at Assen,”he said. West took time to adjust himself, before coming good in the race. “The bike has plenty of grip, which is where we suffered in the past, but I just can’t get it to turn,”he said, after the first day. 14 Anthony West John Hopkins