MOTOGP WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 2005
ROUND 8 - RED BULL US GRAND PRIX, LAGUNA SECA
10 JULY 2005 - MOTOGP RACE RESULT
KAWASAKI MEN BOTH SCORE POINTS IN AMERICA
MotoGP racing made a spectacular return to North America today, with Kawasaki rider Shinya Nakano finishing in a strong ninth place in the USGP.
Nakano was joined in the World Championship points by teammate Alex Hofmann, who finished twelfth with another determined ride at the warm and sunny Laguna Seca circuit.
The double points-scoring finish by Nakano and Hofmann maintains Kawasaki's third place in the Constructors Championship, ahead of Ducati and Suzuki.
The race was another encouraging step in both the development of the Ninja ZX-RR and the progress being made by tyre supplier Bridgestone.
Nakano finished the race just 1.3s out of sixth place, in a closely bunched group that included factory Honda riders Troy Bayliss (sixth) and Makoto Tamada (seventh) plus Suzuki's John Hopkins (eighth) and Loris Capirossi (Ducati) who was tenth.
After being tenth in the opening laps Nakano slotted into eighth behind Hopkins on lap eight. By lap 14 the pair had Bayliss in their sights and a close battle unfolded over the remaining 18 laps.
Tamada joined the party and on lap 23 just squeezed past Nakano for eighth place.
This was Nakano's first race on the demanding hillside Laguna Seca track, and he learnt a great deal as he pushed track experts Bayliss and Hopkins to the limit.
From the fifth row of the grid Hofmann was caught in a bumping battle for track position on the opening lap and lost ground. After moving into 12th on lap ten, Hofmann dropped back to 15th with a momentary gearbox problem.
At the final corner on lap 11 Hofmann's bike dropped into neutral as he downshifted from second to first gear. But the young German rider made a brilliant recovery to charge back past Toni Elias (Yamaha) and Kenny Roberts Jr (Suzuki) to score valuable championship points.
This was the first motorcycle Grand Prix in America for 11 years and the race was watched by a capacity crowd of 57,932 who were delighted with the race victory by home race favourite Nicky Hayden.
|Shinya Nakano: #56 - Ninth
"It was a very hard race but over the final 15 laps I was able to race with Bayliss, Hopkins and Tamada, which is very encouraging for Kawasaki. I enjoyed the battle and I was able to learn many things about the track following Troy and John. The main point is we still need more top end power, plus a little more bottom end, to have a chance against these guys. The team did a very good job here and I was able to race with different electronic settings, which helped in the race. And our Bridgestone tyres had consistent grip for the race today."
|Harald Eckl: Team Manager
"We made the best results we could out of our package today and both riders took points to keep Kawasaki third in the Constructors Championship, which is very important."