MOTOGP WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 2006
KAWASAKI RACING TEAM PRESS OFFICE
21 MAY 2006 - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NAKANO SALVAGES VALUABLE POINTS AT LE MANS
Kawasaki's Randy de Puniet and Shinya Nakano were both left frustrated by this afternoon's Grand Prix de France at Le Mans, after de Puniet crashed out of his home race on the opening lap and Nakano was forced to fight back to finish a disappointing twelfth following a ride through penalty imposed for jumping the start.
Starting from fourth place on the grid, de Puniet got away with the leading group at the start, but was forced to take avoiding action as Valentino Rossi dived underneath him at the entry to the first chicane. Forced to pick up his bike to avoid Rossi's Yamaha, de Puniet collided with the rider on his outside and ended his race in the gravel trap.
The 25-year-old Frenchman was examined in the circuit medical centre, where he was diagnosed as having suffered a concussion in the crash. As a result, de Puniet can remember nothing of the events leading up to his premature exit from this afternoon's race.
A mistake launching his Ninja ZX-RR off the line meant that Nakano was unable to capitalise on his front row grid position, but the Japanese rider made up places into the first chicane and was lying sixth at the end of the first lap. The 28-year-old Japanese rider was still in touch with the leading group of riders when the Kawasaki Racing Team were informed by race control that Nakano had jumped the start and would be subject to a ride through penalty.
Nakano pulled into pit lane from sixth position, and rejoined the race at the first corner dead last.
Determined to salvage as many points as possible, Nakano was soon lapping at the same pace as the front-runners, eventually fighting his way through to twelfth place by the end of the 28-lap race.
|Shinya Nakano: 12th
"Obviously I'm disappointed. I didn't get such a good start, but I was holding onto the back of the leading group for the first few laps and I was just starting to find a good rhythm on the bike. I couldn't believe it when I saw the pit board calling me in for a ride through penalty. At the time I had no idea what I'd been penalised for, which meant that it was difficult to refocus on the race when I'd completed the ride through. Obviously I now know it was for jumping the start. Our data shows that the bike rolled forward slightly before I launched it off the line, so it was the right call, but that doesn't make it any less disappointing. After the penalty I rejoined dead last, but I got my head down and eventually managed to salvage at least some points. After such a good practice and qualifying performance, for the weekend to end the way it did is frustrating, but we have to put this behind us now and focus on the next race in Mugello."
|Harald Eckl: Team Principal
"What a frustrating day. After such a promising performance by both riders during practice and qualifying, I am very disappointed with today's outcome. This is a circuit where we know our bike is strong, and we needed to come away from here with a good result before the next two races at Mugello and Catalunya, both of which are real power tracks. Unfortunately it wasn't to be. Randy was unlucky enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, while Shinya was heavily penalised for a small mistake at the start that didn't gain him any real advantage. But that's racing for you; things don't always go according to plan!"