MOTOGP WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 2004
GAULOISES DUTCH TT - ASSEN
26TH JUNE 2004 - MOTOGP RACE RESULT
HOFMANN MAKES BRAVE CHARGE AT ASSEN AS NAKANO RETIRES EARLY
German rider Alex Hofmann was the sole finisher for the Fuchs Kawasaki Racing Team, with a determined charge through the field to thirteenth place in today's Dutch TT.
Hofmann was rewarded with two championship points for his exhausting effort, making up time from 18th place at the end of lap one.
Japanese teammate, Shinya Nakano, failed to finish the 19 lap sixth round of the MotoGP Championship, after retiring his Ninja ZX-RR with a mechanical problem on lap eight. Prior to stopping Nakano had raced with the Honda of Nicky Hayden and the Suzuki of John Hopkins.
Both Nakano and Hofmann suffered from poor acceleration off the start line and lost valuable places in heavy traffic on the tight confines of the flowing Assencircuit.
Nakano dropped from fifth on the grid to tenth at the end of the first lap, while Hofmann lost seven positions to cross the line at the end of the opening lap in 18th place.
For the next 18 laps Hofmann raced hard, and in the latter stages of the race was poised to challenge for a top ten finish with a group of riders that included Neil Hodgson, Norick Abe and Hopkins.
But Hofmann's efforts were spoiled when he lost time with a passing move on Hopkins, running wide at the first chicane as a result.
The Dutch TT, a classic race on the MotoGP calendar, was watched by just over 90,000 spectators.
|Shinya Nakano: DNF
"At the end of the back straight I heard some noise from the motor and then the rear end locked up suddenly, so I knew the race was over. I'm really disappointed after qualifying fifth; this is a day to forget for me. For sure we need better acceleration, especially on a track like Assen with everyone racing away from the start. But it's over now and I just want to think about going to the next race in Rio."
|Harald Eckl: Team Manager
"After a good qualifying performance yesterday, this result is disappointing, especially for Shinya, who suffered an engine problem that ended his race early. Alex made the best of his situation and never gave up on track, where the race was run at high speed and you need strong acceleration. The start is something we have to look at. We need to make it easier for the riders to launch off the line, by changing slightly the power characteristics of the engine. The good side is that Alex scored some points and we have a lot of information to move forward with for the coming races."