Kawasaki duo John Hopkins and Anthony West were once agin left in the second half of the MotoGP field as they struggled to find grip on the Ninja ZX-RR in both the wet and dry at Phillip Island on Friday.

Hopkins was the quicker of the two riders, managing the 16th best time in the dry first free practice session, although West was 12th best in the afternoon as rain descended on the Phillip Island circuit.

For Hopkins there was an inability to balance the set-up on the bike as he struggled for traction out of the corners. Any attempts to quell this in the afternoon though were ruined by the wet weather.

"Phillip Island requires something of a compromise with the set-up of the bike, as it needs to be easy to turn at high-speed, but then it also has to be stable through the sweeping turns where you're on the edge of the tyre for a long time. Today we got it a bit wrong and it was difficult to find traction exiting the turns this morning.

"We made some improvements during the session, but the rain in the afternoon meant we weren't able to progress any further. Although we also had some problems with rear grip in the wet this afternoon, I'm happy that we know exactly what we need to change for tomorrow, regardless of whether it turns out wet or dry."

West, meanwhile, was happy to be competing on his home circuit again, but was frustrated to be suffering from stability problems throughout the day.

"We had the same problems we've had all season this morning, where the bike just wants to spin up as soon as you touch the throttle exiting the corner. It was frustrating, because I was losing so much time just on acceleration out of the turn, especially exiting the left-hander onto the main straight, where it's so important to carry as much speed as possible.

"This afternoon we had similar problems, but I was also struggling with the stability under braking, as the bike felt like it wanted to run on at the slower corners. It's frustrating, because normally I can count on being much further up the timesheet when it's wet, but it just wasn't possible today because of the issues with the bike.

"Having said that, with the two different sessions today, we're pretty fixed on how to improve the bike for tomorrow, whatever the weather might throw at us."



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