FJapanese ace Shinya Nakano finished his debut season with the Fuchs Kawasaki Racing Team by securing tenth place in the MotoGP World Championship standings in today's Valencia Grand Prix.

Nakano was in superb form and rode his Ninja ZX-RR into seventh place in the race to leap-frog from 12th to 10th position in the final points standings. In the process the Fuchs Kawasaki rider moved ahead of Ruben Xaus and Marco Melandri.

A top ten championship position was the stated goal of Nakano and the Fuchs Kawasaki squad when they joined forces for the 2004 season.

Nakano's team-mate Alex Hofmann finished 11th after making a horror start and dropping to 18th on the first lap. Despite a charging ride through the pack Hofmann had conceded too much time and this clearly cost him a chance of a top ten race finish.

On the way to 11th place Hofmann pulled off a series of brilliant overtaking moves on factory rivals Jeremy McWilliams and John Hopkins. Over the final laps Hofmann raced at a similar pace to Nakano and finished just 17 seconds behind his more experienced team-mate.

Hofmann finished 15th in the championship standings and second in the Rookie of the Year points in his first full MotoGP season.

Nakano made a lightning start from tenth on the third row to be seventh on the opening lap. He dropped to eighth in a mid-race battle with Alex Barros, before holding seventh against a late charge from Colin Edwards.

The Valencia Grand Prix result reflects the huge step forward taken by the Bridgestone-shod Ninja ZX-RR over the past 12 months. Nakano's race time today was over 60 seconds faster, a massive two seconds per lap, than the best Kawasaki in the 2003 race.

The 16 race MotoGP season finished on a high note with a three day attendance of 211,468 spectators and a full-house race day crowd of 122,034.

While the race season has concluded there is still work to do for the Fuchs Kawasaki squad. On Monday there is media ride day on the Ninja ZX-RR, followed by an afternoon tyre test session.

Later in November the development program for the 2005 season kicks-off at the Jerez circuit in southern Spain, with a three day test before a seven week winter test ban.

Shinya Nakano: 7th

"My target was top ten in the championship and a strong result in the final race, so I'm happy to achieve both of those today. I made a really good start, I was seventh in turn two, and was able to hold a place in the top ten even after a battle with Alex Barros. I couldn't run at the frontrunner's pace, but this is an excellent result for the ZX-RR. We have learnt a lot this season, so my thanks to Kawasaki and Bridgestone. I know that next year we will make even more progress in the MotoGP World Championship."
Harald Eckl: Team Manager

"I'm delighted that we achieved tenth in the championship with Shinya, which was a realistic goal for the Ninja ZX-RR this season. And the race performance today demonstrates all the hard work of everyone at Kawasaki and Bridgestone in what has been, at times, a difficult year. We had some mid-season tyre and engine problems, but everyone worked together to overcome those issues. Our aim next year is to move another step forward with our two contracted riders Shinya and Alex, who despite a poor start again showed his fighting spirit today. We will concentrate on two riders, but we are discussing the possibility of entering a third ZX-RR in the championship. If this can be organised and budgeted for, and a good rider is available, then three ZX-RR machines on the grid remains a possibility in 2005."