MOTOGP WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 2004
GRAN PREMIO D'ITALIA - MUGELLO
6TH JUNE 2004 - MOTOGP RACE RESULT

HOFMANN FINISHES IN THE POINTS AS NAKANO ESCAPES INJURY IN FEARSOME CRASH

Fuchs Kawasaki rider Alex Hofmann finished 14th in a bizarre day of racing that saw his teammate Shinya Nakano miraculously escape serious injury in a 300 kph crash.

Hofmann scored two points after a conservative ride on slick tyres, in a final six lap dash on a wet track, after the Italian Grand Prix was red-flagged because of rain. Only the second race counted for championship points and positions.

Hofmann started his Ninja ZX-RR from 12th, his position at the red flag, in the second race.

Before the rain stoppage Nakano was lucky to avoid serious injury when he was sent cart wheeling from his Ninja ZX-RR after suffering a rear tyre failure on the high speed front straight just past the start finish line.

The Japanese rider spiralled into a trackside barrier and after treatment at the medical centre it was confirmed that he was suffering from contusions, a bruised left shoulder, a bruised wrist and an injured finger on his right hand.

The impact of Nakanofs crash scattered debris from his machine across the track.

Nakanofs crash made the remainder of Hofmannfs race day extremely difficult. The 24-year-old German rider was a couple of places behind Nakano at the time of the incident and rode past the crash scene to see "a lot of green debris" lying around.

Hofmann had used a different rear tyre to Nakano for the first race and had no tyre problems during the initial 18-lap run. With the Italian GP reduced to a six lap dash Hofmann and the Kawasaki Racing Team made the wise decision to ride for points, as further showers made conditions treacherous and slippery.
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Harald Eckl: Team Manager

"After the promise shown by both riders during practice and qualifying for this race, the result today was not what we were expecting. After getting boxed in at the start, Shinya had begun to move up the field towards the top ten when his rear tyre failed, causing him to crash at the fastest part of the circuit. I saw the crash from pit wall and, after watching the bike cartwheel down the track, I'm amazed that Shinya came through it without serious injury. We don't know what caused the failure at this time, but the tyre will be sent back to Bridgestone in Japan for analysis tomorrow and I'm confident that we'll have an explanation before the next race at Catalunya. Alex was also working his way through the field when the onset of rain brought out the red flags. We had no choice but to start the second part of the race on slicks, but no sooner had the riders lined up on the grid than the rain started to fall again. Alex showed just how much he's matured as a rider this year, with his decision to bring the bike home in the points rather than risking all in such treacherous conditions. He did a good job under difficult circumstances."
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