Kawasaki's season took a significant turn for the better during qualifying for the seventh round of the World Superbike Championship at Miller Motorsports Park after managing to get both of their riders onto the second row of the grid.
A massive improvement for the Paul Bird Motorsport prepared machines, it is the first time Kawasaki have managed to get at least one rider into the top eight shootout this season.
Indeed, in the hands of Broc Parkes and local stand-in Jamie Hacking, the Kawasaki is proving to be a competitive machine around the Utah circuit and has been a consistent top ten performer.
Eventually qualifying seventh and eighth in the order of Parkes from Hacking, the Australian was thrilled to be scaling the order, even if he credits his new team-mate's local knowledge for helping him progress this weekend.
“That's the best qualifying this year. This is my first time here and straight out of the box we were quite fast. The bike works well, but we haven't got a perfect race set-up yet. I think we can work around that for tomorrow.
“I'm really happy for the team because we are going forward. I'm also starting to get my fitness back again because it's been two weeks since Kyalami. Jamie has a lot of local knowledge and that has brought quite a lot into the team. That's been really good. The track is lots of fun, big, open and flowing, and that's what I like.”
Although he would lose out to Parkes during the shootout, Hacking did at least get his moment earlier on in the qualifying session by topping Q1, ahead of former AMA Superbike rival Ben Spies.
“To have gone all the way through every Superpole session, with a total of just over three hours on this bike, I'm pleased. We have a good, really good, race set-up on the bike, got the race tyres picked and I am real happy with it.
“Obviously I would have liked to have improved more but with the conditions we had out there, it wasn't worth risking crashing a bike and having to start all over. None of the corners were wet, but you could see the water on the visor and feel it on your neck, you knew it was not truly dry. We had a very good shot at the front two rows there, and it should be a good race. I'm really looking forward to it. ”