Garry McCoy had a forgettable day at Estoril, a circuit which has been so kind to him in the past. The Aussie started 22nd but never got on the race pace and failed to finish, retiring his Ninja ZX-RR machine with two of the 28 laps remaining as a precautionary measure after he was sprayed with water from his machine.

"With a couple of laps to go a big spray of water hit me from under the front screen and I wasn't sure where it was as coming from," explained Garry. "The temperature looked okay, but I thought the water might be leaking onto the tyres so the best idea was to stop.

"This is a huge difference from when I won here three years ago, not finishing is hard to take," admitted the Slide King, who seems ever less likely to remain with Kawasaki next year. "The team worked hard over the weekend, but we had a few problems and in the race I just didn't have a good level of rear grip almost from the beginning. The same tyre had shaped up consistently in practice, but I never really got going. I hate not finishing; hopefully Rio will be good for us."

Meanwhile, former World Supersport Champion Andrew Pitt (lower pic) battled an energy-sapping cold and fading grip levels over the final stages to finish 21st, having conceded two places to Jeremy McWilliams and Nobuatsu Aoki with five laps remaining.

Pitt had raced hard against struggling rivals Suzuki and Proton from the start and was disappointed not to mount a response to their late race challenge.

"The bike was fine and from the start I really thought I could have finished on the pace of the group I was running with. But over the final laps I just couldn't get off the turns, the side grip had gone away and then when I tried riding the front tyre to hold the pace I had a couple of big moments; there was nothing to do over the final laps," said Andrew. "With about 12 laps to go it felt like I was in good tyre shape and the other guys looked like they were spinning up, but it was a downwards spiral late in the race. It was hard work but I felt okay physically; I just need to get rid of this cold before Rio."

Kawasaki team came to Estoril with no previous race data at a circuit that was always going to prove a huge challenge for the ZX-RR. However team boss Harald Eckl believes some valuable lessons have been learned and data gathered this weekend will be important to the next evolution of the ZX-RR, which is expected before the end of this season.

"We knew this circuit was going to be hard work for us, but even so, days like this are still disappointing," he admitted. "What has been emphasised here is that our main focus needs to be on developing the chassis to improve the handling of the bike. We will be doing our homework after this weekend and I'm sure we will rebound at Rio, which is a track more suited to the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-RR."

 

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