Kawasaki began the process of adapting its ZX-RR to run the same specification Bridgestone front tyre as world championship leaders Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner, during Monday's post-race test at Misano.

Rather than adapting tyres to the characteristics of the bike, the new tactic amongst the chasing Bridgestone teams seems to be to adapt the bike to proven race-winning rubber - a method used to great effect by world championship leader Valentino Rossi, when he first made the switch from Michelin to Bridgestone.

Kawasaki's move follows hot on the heels of a similar change by Suzuki and John Hopkins confirmed that Kawasaki is now the only team running a different specification front tyre to Rossi and Stoner.

"Our focus was mainly on the front-end of the machine, and we have refined our setting from this weekend by changing the way the chassis is set up," began Hopkins, who knocked 0.831secs from his best race lap and finished the test third out of the six riders present.

"We also started work on using a Bridgestone front tyre option that both Valentino [Rossi] and Casey [Stoner] use. This meant we had to alter the bike a lot, but we are now the only team using the old type of tyre, basically because we've not had any chance to test.

"This new specification tyre is definitely the future for us, but unfortunately it can't be in my allocation until we're completely happy with the way the machine handles with it."

As a result, Hopkins spent the last few hours refining the chassis setting of his machine using his current tyre options.

"I'm pleased with the results of today's test, but still have a lot of catching up to do with the upgraded bike," confessed John, who missed the opening day of the San Marino Grand Prix weekend due to a 'rib injury'.

"I'm really excited about Indianapolis, particularly as it's my home round, and we'll be looking to achieve strong results there," he concluded.

Hopkins and team-mate Anthony West finished at the back of the field, in 14th and 13th places respectively, during Sunday's Misano race.

West, who finished in front of Hopkins for the second race in a row, set the fifth fastest time at the test, but was just 0.222secs slower than his team-mate.

"We've basically spent the test time today trying to improve the feedback from the front-end of the bike. We also tried a different swing-arm, but this didn't really make any significant difference for us," said the Australian, who will be replaced by Marco Melandri in 2009.

"We have some more direction with how we can move forward with the front-end troubles and I felt a lot more confident going into the turns, which resulted in a quicker lap time than we managed in the race.

"We also evaluated a few different Bridgestone tyre options, and the conclusion is positive, but we still have more work to do. I'm looking forward to Indianapolis, particularly because it's an even field as no-one has previous track experience there, and we'll be looking to gain a strong finish," West concluded.

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