MOTOGP WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 2005
ROUND 2 - AUTODROMO DO ESTORIL, PORTUGAL
17 APRIL 2005 - MOTOGP RACE


NAKANO EIGHTH IN RAIN HIT PORTUGUESE GRAND PRIX

Kawasaki rider Shinya Nakano rode a perfectly judged race on a slippery track to finish eighth in todayfs rain hit Portuguese Grand Prix at Estoril.

On the back of his fifth place finish last week in Spain, Nakano is now sixth in the championship with 19 points after two rounds.

The 28-lap Grand Prix was a huge test of skill and bravery for riders in the changeable weather conditions, with rain falling on some fast sections of track in the second half of the race.

Under the new flag-to-flag MotoGP rules the race is no longer stopped for rain, and pit stops for wet weather tyres must be made under green-light race conditions.

Today the rain was not heavy enough to justify a pit stop, but Nakano rode a mistake-free race to keep control of his Ninja ZX-RR fitted with slick race tyres.
The heaviest rain fell over the final ten laps, mainly from the end of the main straight and through turns one to six.

Nakano started tenth but dropped to 11th on the long run to the first corner, overtaken by Troy Bayliss.

Unable to make an impression on the lead group Nakano held 11th for 16th laps, before moving into the top ten and then riding superbly over the final laps to clinch eighth. A numbers of riders fell in the tricky conditions including Bayliss, Sete Gibernau and Colin Edwards.

Nakano's performance consolidated Kawasaki's third position in the constructor's championship, two points ahead of Ducati and 13 points in front of Suzuki.

Nakano will ride again at Estoril tomorrow afternoon, in a test session to continue the engine development programme for the Ninja ZX-RR.

Shinya Nakano: #56 - Eighth

"That was not an easy race, especially with rain on some fast sections of the course. It was very difficult to see if the track was wet, so I had to keep checking my visor and windscreen for water. It is very difficult to ride a MotoGP bike on slick tyres on a wet track. My lap times were what I expected, but the front group seemed to be able to go faster than in practice and I couldnft stay with them from the start. I got some good points today, but Ifm never happy to be eighth, we need to keep working on engine performance."
Ichiro Yoda: Technical Director

" I am happy for the points from this race in these very difficult conditions. This weekend was a good opportunity for us to analyse our weak points and the areas in which we need to catch up, and quickly. Clearly the main area is engine development and engine management systems. Our chassis and Bridgestone tyres are performing well."
 
Harald Eckl: Team Manager

"Ifm satisfied for the result in the prevailing weather conditions, which were not easy for the riders. Shinya didnft have the best start, but he did a very good job with constant lap times, to score some very valuable points for the team in the championship."