MOTOGP WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 2004
GRAN PREMI DE CATALUNYA
13TH JUNE 2004 - MOTOGP RACE RESULT
SUPER SHINYA'S SHOW OF FAITH PAYS DIVIDENDS FOR KAWASAKI AT CATALUNYA
Shinya Nakano bounced back from his huge crash at Mugello with a vengeance this afternoon. The Fuchs Kawasaki rider brought his Ninja ZX-RR home in seventh place at the Circuit de Catalunya; the best result for Kawasaki since the factory returned to Grand Prix racing at the end of the 2002 season.
Nakano's Fuchs Kawasaki teammate, Alex Hofmann, also had something to celebrate, as he finished an impressive eleventh; his best result of the season so far.
The race was a triumph for Nakano, the team and Kawasaki?s tyre partner, Bridgestone, just one week after the setback of Nakano's terrifying crash in the Italian GP. But, the Mugello nightmare was a faded memory today, as Nakano rode a superb race on a modified rear tyre that had been constructed and delivered by Bridgestone in just three days.
Before a near capacity crowd of 102,000 both Fuchs Kawasaki riders comfortably completed the 25 lap race distance aboard their Ninja ZX-RR machines with no tyre problems at all.
Nakano was ecstatic with what he described as "a back from the dead" performance, which was highlighted by his brilliant last corner passing move on Max Biaggi's factory Honda to secure seventh.
Hofmann missed a top tenth finish by just one tenth of second when he just failed to retake Loris Capirossi's factory Ducati on the final lap, after a close battle over the closing five laps. Early in the race Hofmann lost some ground in a tight battle for track position in a packed field, dropping to 17th on the opening lap, but once the race settled he made consistent forward progress.
Nakano settled in 13th place early on, beginning his forward charge on lap seven and never looking back.
For two days of practice and qualifying both riders worked together with Kawasaki and Bridgestone engineers to compensate for the limited tyre choice for this race, and their hard work and dedication certainly paid dividends this afternoon. Hofmann and Nakano were the only two Bridgestone riders to finish today's race in the points.
|Shinya Nakano: 7th
"Last week I crashed at Mugello and thought I was dead, and then today I score my best result of the season. That's racing, and that's why I enjoy it so much. Towards the end of the race I could see Max Biaggi was spinning up the rear quite a lot, so I knew there was an opportunity to pass him into the last turn if I changed my line slightly. There were a lot of discussions about tyres in the paddock before today's race, but I was never in any doubt that the rear that Bridgestone gave us today would last full race distance. Both Bridgestone and my crew did an amazing job this weekend, giving me a really good race set-up so that I was able to control the slides and stay with the factory Honda guys. In some corners I had something of an advantage, but then lost out again on the straights. I have to say, my team and the guys at Bridgestone deserve a big thank you for today's result."
|Harald Eckl: Team Manager
"After what happened at Mugello, I am full of respect for Bridgestone and the job they did to make such a very competitive tyre in just three days. Our team never had any doubt that the race tyre was technically safe for race distance, and our riders and engineers worked perfectly to find a set-up that would deliver maximum performance. We did not get involved in trying to predict anything before the race, preferring instead to let the final result tell the story. Today Shinya was brilliant as he showed that nothing can slow him down. It was also a strong race by Alex, and in company with Bridgestone, we have a lot of confidence for the coming races."