MOTOGP WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 2004
MOTORRAD GRAND PRIX DEUTSCHLAND - SACHSENRING
18TH JULY 2004 - MOTOGP RACE RESULT
NAKANO AND HOFMANN DELIVER SEASON BEST RESULT
Brilliant performances by Shinya Nakano and Alex Hofmann delivered a season best result for the Fuchs Kawasaki team in their home race at Sachsenring.
For the first time in two days there were smiles in the Fuchs Kawasaki pit box, to celebrate both riders finishing in the top ten for the first time this season.
Nakano was a fast-finishing seventh, just over two seconds behind fifth placed Honda rider Colin Edwards, while team-mate Hofmann was tenth.
In his home race 24-year-old Hofmann, the only German rider in the top flight MotoGP series, equalled his previous best MotoGP result, which he scored as a wild card at Sachsenring two years ago.
The result was a dramatic turnaround, after engine and set-up problems during Friday's first practice and qualifying sessions cost the team valuable time.
However, both Nakano and Hofmann delivered superb, come-from-behind race performances to back-up the technical revisions made to their bikes on Saturday.
Nakano dropped from fifth on the grid to 12th at the end of lap two, after making a poor start. Just before the lights went out to start the race Nakano was distracted by liquid that had spilled onto his right boot, and he was uncertain if either water or oil may be leaking from his bike.
Having established his bike was running perfectly, Nakano began his surge forward. He caught and passed Suzuki rival Kenny Roberts on lap 18 for ninth position, which placed him in a tight group battle that included Makoto Tamada, Marco Melandri and Norick Abe.
Nakano narrowly avoided being involved in the spectacular crash that ended Melandri's and Abe's race, and finished strongly over the final laps for seventh place.
Hofmann also started slowly from 16th and ran wide during a crowded first lap on the tight Sachsenring circuit. That put him behind Spaniard Ruben Xaus, and it was lap ten before Hofmann found a way through on the difficult-to-pass track.
Free of bike problems, Hofmann rode fast and consistently over the next 20 laps, to secure a deserving tenth place finish. A capacity crowd of just over 93,000 spectators watched a race run in sunny and warm conditions, with a track temperature of 34 degrees.
|Shinya Nakano: 7th
"This is a good result, which I did not really expect after the first day at the track. Even after qualifying my technicians were making a lot of changes to the bike, so I must thank them for their hard work and dedication. On the start line I looked down and saw liquid on my right boot and lost concentration just as the lights went out. I was back in 12th and just kept pushing until I was able to pass Roberts on the Suzuki, and then I had some luck when Melandri and Abe crashed right in front me. It's great to see the team so happy after the problems we had on Friday and Saturday."
|Harald Eckl: Team Manager
"I am absolutely delighted with the performance of the riders and the rest of the Fuchs Kawasaki team today. As always in racing you have to finish to be in the points, and both Shinya and Alex in the top ten is an excellent result considering the problems we have overcome. Friday was almost completely lost and our technicians made major revisions to the engine management components - plus chassis set-up - on Saturday. This result is because of all that hard work."