Walker 14th fastest despite partially paralysed face
The effects of Bell’s Palsy have left Chris Walker with blurred vision and unable to complete more than a handful of laps at a time. Yet he toughed it out to rack up 72 laps and end up 14th fastest after two days of the current WSB tests in Spain.
Walker flew out to the test at Valencia in Spain at the last minute after waiting for the all-clear from doctors. He can’t move any part of the left side of his face and can’t even blink.
But the factory Kawasaki rider was desperate not to miss the vital final test.
He said: " The whole time I have been on the bike has felt like an arcade game rather than reality. It’s weird because I have been trying to concentrate but it feels like I am riding the bike through someone else’s body.
" The worst bit of the whole test is not being able to blink because with the hot, dry air rushing in it dries my eye out and makes it really sore and painful. The most amount of laps I managed to get done at any one time was just six. But I do feel like I have achieved something just by being here.
Walker’s may have been the slowest factory bike, bar the struggling Benelli Tornado but his time does him credit in such difficult circumstances.
Fellow Brit Neil Hodgson who was left languishing back in the 11th fastest slot after the first two days. Toseland is 10th.
HM Plant Ducati star Hodgson was clearly not happy with the way things were going with his 998R as he couldn’t get any settings he was comfortable with.
Hodgson said: " It’s not been a disaster but it’s certainly not been a good test because I have not felt comfortable on the bike at any time this weekend. I just feel like I have been on the limit but have no idea what is going on with the front of the bike.
The times set at the test were the fastest ever in the three years the WSB series has used Valencia as a test and race track. The lap record of 1:36.128s set by Troy Corser on the Aprilia RSV1000 in 2001 being beaten on day one by Honda’s Colin Edwards. The fastest time of 1:34.922s (set by Troy Bayliss) was also just half a second off the fastest 500GP time ever set at the track.
The test concludes on Monday.