MOTOGP WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 2005
ROUND 15 - POLINI AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX, PHILLIP ISLAND
16 OCTOBER 2005 - MOTOGP RACE RESULT
NAKANO IN STUNNING SURGE TO SEVENTH IN MAGIC ISLAND FINISH
With a stunning surge on the final lap, Japanese race ace Shinya Nakano rode his Kawasaki Ninja ZX-RR into a hard-earned seventh place in today's Australian Grand Prix.
In a breathtaking finish to the 27-lap race, Nakano crossed the line just 0.04s ahead of factory Honda rider Makoto Tamada who was eighth.
The three-way photo-finish also included Yamaha's Toni Elias who was ninth, just 0.001 behind Tamada, as the trio flashed across the line side-by-side.
Nakano's teammate Olivier Jacque was classified 16th, two laps down, after making a pitstop to change a rear tyre.
The sun-soaked race at Phillip Island was won by Valentino Rossi and watched by 43,400 spectators.
It was another superb display of clever race craft by Nakano, who battled a persistent gearbox downshift problem from the start that compromised the braking performance of his bike.
But over the final five laps Nakano was able to use the consistent race grip on the critical left side of his Bridgestone rear tyre to close on, and then outsmart, Tamada and Elias.
Nakano started the final lap in ninth place, in the slipstream of his rivals. He passed Tamada on the fast, sweeping back section - on the run from Siberia corner - and then timed his flying finish to perfection.
Nakano rocketed off the long and fast turn 12 and dived past Elias to claim seventh as the chequered flag was waved.
Because of the downshift problem Nakano was forced to spend most of the race patiently following Tamada and Elias, so as not to risk crashing under hard braking.
Nakano's seventh place allowed him to consolidate his tenth place in the championship standings, ahead of nearest rival, Tamada.
Jacque was bitterly disappointed with his race after running straight-on at the first hairpin twice, before stopping on lap 11 for a new rear tyre. He rejoined the race and set a string of consistent laps to finish the race just out of the points.
|Shinya Nakano: #56 - Seventh
"Only the final lap was exciting for me, at 100%, but the rest of the race was not much fun - just cruising behind Tamada-san and Toni. After practice I did not expect this result, so that is the good point, but I'm not happy because we did not achieve our maximum potential today. From the start I had a downshift problem, and after missing a gear once in the early laps, I had to be careful under braking. I could only follow, not race. But my rear Bridgestone gave me the advantage on the final lap, especially on the drive-side - the left - and the ZX-RR motor was working well, so I attacked and was able to finish seventh. I couldn't push before that because of the gearbox, and also a lack of feeling from the right-side of the rear tyre."
|Harald Eckl: Team Manager
"Again, Shinya has taken the maximum possible from a difficult situation - his timing on the final lap was just perfect. We had some problems this weekend with set-up, both braking stability and grip, and this result was unexpected, but very satisfying after all the hard work by the team."