MOTOGP WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 2005
ROUND 17 - GRAND PRIX BETANDWIN.COM DE LA COMUNITAT VALENCIANA
06 NOVEMBER 2005 - MOTOGP RACE
TENTH IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP FOR BATTLE WEARY NAKANO
The 2005 MotoGP season came to an exhausting close in front of 125,000 fans today, with both Kawasaki riders, Shinya Nakano and Alex Hofmann, finishing in the points in the Valencia Grand Prix.
Nakano's eleventh place finish in the race confirmed his tenth place in the championship standings, while Hofmann was an impressive 14th in his comeback ride from injury.
Both Nakano and Hofmann rode with debilitating injuries and were physically and mentally drained at the end of the 30-lap race.
Nakano raced after a pain-killing injection in his bruised and swollen left hand, while Hofmann ignored the discomfort and lack of strength in his left foot.
Today was Hofmann's final race appearance with the Kawasaki team and he raced bravely, just seven weeks after having two plates and 16 screws inserted in multiple ankle and foot fractures.
Both Nakano and Hofmann were lucky to survive turn one during a frantic start to today's race.
A cautious Hofmann found the rider-less Ducati of Roby Rolfo in front of him after the Italian rider had banged into the rear of Nakano's Ninja ZX-RR and crashed.
Nakano lost four places and Hofmann three, in this opening lap skirmish.
On the difficult-to-pass Valencia track, and less than 100% fit, both riders settled into a race plan to finish in the points.
Nakano chased and passed John Hopkins for tenth position on lap eight but could not close the gap on Makoto Tamada. Over the final five laps Nakano knew his physical condition made him vulnerable and he had to concede tenth position to Toni Elias just two laps from the end.
By mid-race Hofmann had settled into 13th place behind Hopkins, Elias and Nakano and was matching their race pace. Wisely, Hofmann did not want to chance the high-risk passing moves required to make forward progress and was just happy that he had enough strength to finish the gruelling race.
Nakano's hand injury will keep him out of this week's Valencia test, and he will return to Japan for further examination and treatment.
|Shinya Nakano: #56 - Tenth
"The final five laps were very difficult with my hand and it was not easy to concentrate. I knew Toni (Elias) was behind me and that if he challenged me it would be impossible to hold him back, so l let him go past - I knew I needed the points in the championship. When Rolfo hit me in turn one at the start I was lucky not to crash, but then I had a good race with Hopkins, although I could not catch Tamada-san. For sure tenth is not the position that either I, nor Kawasaki, wanted in the championship, but everyone is already working very hard for next season. I want to thank everyone in my team and I know we can do much better in 2006."
|Harald Eckl: Team Manager
"Finally, a tough, and sometimes unlucky season is over. It was a difficult weekend for both our riders and the injuries to Shinya and Alex mirrored what happened earlier in the season. They both did a great job today, but now it's time to look forward. We must aim for better results next season, and already both Kawasaki and Bridgestone are working towards that goal. My thanks to both riders and everyone in the team for their dedication this season."