MOTOGP WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 2006
KAWASAKI RACING TEAM PRESS OFFICE
18 JUNE 2006 - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
KAWASAKI'S NAKANO UNFORTUNATE VICTIM OF CATALUNYA CHAOS
Kawasaki's Shinya Nakano was excluded from the Grand Prix of Catalunya, after falling foul of the regulations during the third attempt to start today's 25-lap race.
Nakano got a lightning start first time out to steal third place into the first turn, but his efforts were wasted when a collision between Ducati teammates, Sete Gibernau and Loris Capirossi started a chain reaction that saw five riders crash on the entry to turn one, and forced officials to red flag the race.
The stoppage was bad news for Nakano, who had already gapped the rider in fourth place, but good news for his Kawasaki teammate, Randy de Puniet, who crashed in turn one after being forced onto the grass to avoid colliding with Gibernau's cartwheeling Ducati.
The drama continued when the race was restarted, as Chris Vermeulen experienced a problem on the grid that required the attention of his mechanics, resulting in a further delay, during which Nakano's Ninja ZX-RR overheated.
The bike was pushed off the grid as the Kawasaki rider sprinted back for his number two machine, but in the confusion of the restart he took his place on the grid, instead of starting from the back of the field as the regulations dictate.
Again, Nakano got a good start to steal fourth place into turn one, but slipped back after being baulked by a hard charging Kenny Roberts into the left-hand turn two. Race officials then showed the Kawasaki rider the penalty board, but Nakano didn't see it as he battled for position down the main straight and, after failing to pit in after the requisite number of laps, he was black-flagged and excluded from the results.
An innocent victim of the first corner crash, Randy de Puniet received a reprieve when the race was red-flagged and he was able to take to the grid for the restart aboard his spare bike.
After a cautious start, the 25-year-old Frenchman was pushing hard to fight through the field, but was forced to try and make up time and positions on the brakes and through the turns, as he was unable to match the straight-line speed of his factory rivals.
Trying to close the gap on Makoto Tamada, de Puniet pushed just a little too hard through the left-hand turn at Le Caixa on lap six, and crashed out of the race after losing the front of his Ninja ZX-RR.
The Kawasaki Racing Team now head for The Netherlands, and next week's Dutch TT, where they are determined to make up for the frustration and disappointment experienced in Catalunya today with a strong performance.
|Shinya Nakano: DNF
"I got a good start in the first race and I really thought we were in for a good result, so I was disappointed to see the red flag, but relieved to hear that none of the riders who crashed have been seriously hurt. The restart didn't go quite so well. I saw Chris Vermeulen had a problem on the line, and while we were waiting for it to be sorted out my bike overheated and sprayed water up the inside of the screen. I went back to get my spare bike, and that's where the confusion started, as I'm sure I was waved through onto my grid position. I didn't see the penalty board at all, as I was tucked in behind someone each time I came down the main straight, so the first time I knew something was wrong was when I saw the black flag together with my number. Obviously I'm hugely disappointed, and not a little frustrated, because a good result looked to be well within our grasp here today."
|Harald Eckl: Team Principal
"Shinya got a fantastic start, and looked capable of securing a good result, but then the crash and the red flag spoiled what could have been a great race. It was bad for Shinya and Kawasaki, but it was also bad for the thousands of fans here, because Gibernau, Capirossi and Melandri were unable to make the restart and only eleven riders actually finished the race. I don't think the crowd got to see MotoGP at its best today. It's a shame that Shinya didn't see the penalty board, as I believe his could have taken the ride through penalty and still secured a top ten finishing position. Randy was forced to push hard to make up ground on the riders in front of him when he lost the front and crashed out. Sure he is disappointed, but I know that both him and Shinya will bounce back ready for next weeks Dutch TT at Assen, where I hope we'll be able to put this weekend well and truly behind us with a good result."