All three Kawasaki riders were able to lower their best lap times during day two of the Phillip Island MotoGP test, despite rain interruptions and an accident for new signing Marco Melandri.
Thursday saw Melandri given the revised chassis used by test rider Olivier Jacque on day one. The 26-year-old completed 64 laps and reduced his best lap time by 0.7sec to 1min 31.8sec - putting the Italian under the best ZX-RR race lap in October's Australian Grand Prix, a 1min 31.915sec by Anthony West. Melandri was also 0.719sec under his best race lap on a Ducati.
However, Melandri also suffered an accident at turn four late on in the afternoon and his crew will need to rebuild his machine for Friday's third and final day of 2008 testing.
"Unfortunately the weather hasn't been ideal today and we had to stop the test twice due to rain," said Kawasaki competition manager Michael Bartholemy. "Marco tested the new chassis and he has continued to improve his lap time, despite crashing this afternoon. His crew will rebuild the bike overnight and hopefully, with some good weather, we can continue to gather more information from him tomorrow."
0.3sec slower than Melandri was former 250cc world champion Jacque, who lowered his best lap time by 0.3sec as he continued work on the new chassis.
"With the rain today we've not been able to complete as many laps as we'd hoped," admitted OJ. "We've also not really improved our lap time as much as we would have liked, but we have tried many different set-up changes, with a focus on the chassis geometry. The wind was also a big problem today as it was very strong and changed direction from morning to afternoon. I'm not sure how much this affects our bike in terms of set-up, but it was very noticeable out on track. We have some more ideas to try tomorrow, but we still have a lot of work to do if we want to achieve the lap times we are aiming for."
Melandri's team-mate John Hopkins continued to suffer from pain caused by the plate in his ankle, inserted after a fracture sustained during a high-speed accident at Assen in June.
Hopkins has worked through the pain to evaluate tyres for Bridgestone, using the same specification machine he signed off the 2008 season with at Valencia last month. Hopper posted a best time of 1min 32.5sec, 0.8sec faster than on Wednesday.
"I am suffering quite badly with the pain from my ankle, as I just can't put weight on the pegs when accelerating out of the turns," he said. "We've done a lot of icing and strapping, but it's still very painful to ride. This test is important for us, and today we've spent a lot of time testing tyres using the same set-up we had in Valencia, as this gives us a reference point.