January 17, 2003 - Andrew Pitt´s Best Ever In Sepang

Kawasaki Racing Team rider Andrew Pitt concluded three days of testing in Sepang with a personal best time of 2:06.3s, more than four seconds faster than on his MotoGP premiere at the Malaysian Grand Prix on October last year.
Whereas Pitt boarded a plane on Wednesday night to attend his best friend’s wedding, and will re-join the team at their next session in Phillip Island, Australia, his team-mate Garry McCoy decided to add another half day of testing on Thursday to his schedule, before the crates had to be packed. McCoy improved his previous best time by a tenth of a second, and could have gone much faster if a clutch problem hadn’t slowed him on his best run.

German Alex Hofmann and Japanese test rider Akira Yanagawa joined McCoy on the extra fourth day of testing, with Hofmann narrowing down the choice of new generation Dunlop tyres, and Yanagawa successfully working on the set-up of a new front fork and a new rear shock absorber.

Hofmann left the Sepang circuit in an especially triumphant mood: Having improved by more than a second on Wednesday already, he slashed another 1,3 seconds on Thursday, when he had the chance to swap his older, carburetted Ninja ZX-RR version with Andrew Pitt’s up-to-date fuel-injected bike.

Andrew Pitt: 72 laps – best time 2:06.31s
"I’m pretty happy with my lap time. We’re making progress. I’m more than four seconds faster than at the Grand Prix here in Sepang back in October, and even though we still have a long way to go, we’re getting closer. The bike is a little bit easier to ride, the whole combination is working better now. We just had a few problems with the fuel injection, the bike was running a bit rough. But I think it is just my bike, a small mistake that we should be able to sort out easily, because when I tried Akira’s one, it was a lot smoother."

"We further improved the chassis settings and got rid of the rear shock pumping that was disturbing us on the first two days of testing. We also went through a few good tyres, and in the end, the bike was just better on the exit of the turns, and it was possible to open the throttle a bit earlier."

"Now I’m really looking forward to our next test session in Phillip Island, as long as it is not too windy, because if it is, it’s a real handful down there. But otherwise, I love to ride on my home track. My goal is to make the same sort of progress in Phillip Island that I did here!"

Garry McCoy: 43/20 laps – best time 2:06.40s
"On Wednesday, we started to move the pivot point of the rear swing arm. We went the complete opposite direction to what we had in our previous tests and in the last couple of days. We had to change the rear shock and a few other settings to suit it, and it wasn’t really feeling too bad, probably a bit better than anything we’ve had in the past. It just seemed as if I had to push really hard to do times which are two seconds off the pace, so it was obvious that we needed to work and play with it more."

"I was pretty happy about the chance of another half a day of testing on Thursday, because track time is definitely what we need at the moment. We went through a few more settings and further improved the bike, and my idea was to put in one fast lap and then to try and set up the bike to ride at this pace comfortably."

"I tried several times to go for a lap in the 2.05’s, but I never accomplished it, because either the tyre wasn’t right, or we had other problems. On my fastest lap, the clutch was slipping pretty much all the way – without that, I would have been a second faster for sure!"