MOTOGP WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 2004
PORTUGUESE GRAND PRIX - ESTORIL
5TH SEPTEMBER 2004 - MOTOGP RACE RESULT

NAKANO AND HOFMANN IN THE POINTS FOR FUCHS KAWASAKI

Fuchs Kawasaki rider Shinya Nakano showed his true fighting spirit, with an impressive ride from the back of the grid to finish a creditable eleventh in today's hot and gruelling Portuguese Grand Prix at Estoril.

And team-mate Alex Hofmann delivered a double-points finish for Kawasaki, by charging home in 13th place aboard his Ninja ZX-RR.

Because of a leaking oil seal Nakano had to switch to his spare Ninja ZX-RR race bike just before the start, forcing the Japanese ace to line-up in last place on the 21 rider grid.

Nakano made a lightning start and rode brilliantly to make up six places on lap one.

Settling into a consistent rhythm, Nakano was determined to improve his points scoring position from 15th place in a tight pack of riders over the next 27 laps.

After a long battle chasing Ducati, Aprilia and Suzuki rivals, Nakano passed Jeremy McWilliams on lap 17, and then four laps later he secured 11th place by overtaking Suzuki rival Kenny Roberts.

From 17th on the grid Hofmann was boxed in by heavy traffic through turns one and two, and he rode a frustrating race as he tried to find a consistent pace after an unsettling start.

After two days of set-up problems at Estoril, Hofmann was not comfortable with the balance of his ZX-RR over the race distance until the final stages, when he was able to match Nakano's race pace.

Three laps from the finish Hofmann also charged ahead of Roberts to claim thirteenth position at the flag.

Today's race was watched by a crowd of more than 45,000 people.
Shinya Nakano: 11th

"I am obviously disappointed with the result today. I really don't like racing this far from the front of the field; it's very frustrating. Because of the problem on the warm up lap I had to start on my spare bike at the back of the grid, which is never easy. My times were pretty consistent throughout the race, but starting so far back meant a better result just wasn't possible today. Tomorrow we test here at Estoril and my main focus now is not on today's result, but on finding a good set-up for my home Grand Prix at Motegi."
Harald Eckl: Team Manager

"Shinya's race bike had a leaking oil seal and, for safety's sake, the decision was made to switch to his spare machine. In these difficult circumstances Shinya did an excellent job today. At the end of the race Alex managed to improve his lap times to the point where he was as fast as Shinya, but while he definitely has the potential to score more points, he needs to work on his consistency. Both riders finished in the points today, but clearly we still need to improve things in the engine department if we are to make the next step."