MOTOGP WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 2006
KAWASAKI RACING TEAM PRESS OFFICE
30 APRIL 2006 - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NAKANO EIGHTH AS DE PUNIET FINISHES IN THE POINTS
Shinya Nakano took a hard fought eighth place in today's Grand Prix of Turkey aboard his Ninja ZX-RR, while his Kawasaki teammate, Randy de Puniet, crossed the line in 12th place, to claim his first MotoGP race finish.
Nakano was forced to fight for position from the off, battling hard with teammate de Puniet and Honda's Makoto Tamada after a good start from the third row of the grid.
Nakano eventually fought his way through to the front of the trio, leaving de Puniet to continue the battle with Tamada, but by that time the group in front had managed to pull out an insurmountable gap on the Kawasaki rider.
Undeterred, Nakano focused on lapping consistently aboard his Bridgestone shod Ninja ZX-RR, for which he was rewarded towards the end of the 22-lap race when the high attrition rate at the front saw riders either crashing out, or slowing due to tyre problems.
Running in tenth position with two laps to go, Nakano managed to catch and pass Yamaha's Colin Edwards on the penultimate lap to take ninth place, before being elevated to eighth when Dani Pedrosa crashed out of third place with just over one lap to go. Nakano held the position to the line, after Edwards was unable to mount a challenge on the final lap.
Randy de Puniet tried to stay with his teammate when he came past a third of the way into the race, but lost touch with Nakano after being forced into a mistake at the end of the straight as he tried to pass a slowing John Hopkins.
Knowing that Hopkins would slow them both through the chicane, de Puniet attempted a pass on the entry to turn 12, but lost valuable time when he ran wide on the brakes.
Recovering well, de Puniet was quickly back up to speed and lapped consistently throughtout the remainder of the race, to finish in a commendable 12th place, and collect his first MotoGP world championship points.
|Shinya Nakano: 8th
"I got into a battle right from the start with Makoto Tamada and Randy, which I think slowed us all down, allowing the leading group to get away from us. I think our tyre choice for today's race was correct, as I was able to keep my lap times consistent throughout the race, and I still had the grip left at the end to push and catch Colin Edwards. I could see I was catching him, but we were equally matched on tyre performance and top speed, so putting in a pass was not so easy. In the end I got him on the brakes going into Turn 10, with a lap and a half to go, to steal one more position. I'm not so happy to only finish eighth today, but if I'm honest, after the problems we had in dry practice here on Friday, it was better than I was expecting."