MOTOGP WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 2006
KAWASAKI RACING TEAM PRESS OFFICE
24 JUNE 2006 - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SUPER SHINYA SCORES STUNNING SECOND PLACE AT ASSEN
Kawasaki's Shinya Nakano scored his best ever result in motorcycle racing's premier class today, as he brought his Ninja ZX-RR home in second place during an action-packed Dutch TT at Assen, held in front of a capacity 91,000 crowd.
The 28-year-old Kawasaki rider took maximum advantage of his front row start, hitting the first turn in third place and then staying with the leading quartet of riders as they pulled out a lead on the pursuing pack.
Nakano was pushed back to fourth by eventual race winner, Nicky Hayden, and then dropped back slightly from the leading trio as a result of front end chatter on his Ninja ZX-RR. As the race approached the halfway point, and the chatter diminished, the Kawasaki rider managed to chase down John Hopkins, putting in a pass at the start of lap 12 to retake third place.
Nakano pushed hard to try and join the battle between Edwards and Hayden at the front of the race, whilst keeping a wary eye on the battle behind him, as Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner worked to close the gap on the Kawasaki pilot.
By the final lap Nakano had settled for third place, and his first rostrum finish of the season, when Colin Edwards crashed out of the race at the final chicane, gifting Nakano with second place on the podium and his best ever result in the MotoGP World Championship.
Randy de Puniet was quick to congratulate his Kawasaki teammate on his podium finish, despite the bitter disappointment of his own race. The 25-year-old Frenchman suffered a problem with his Ninja ZX-RR on the warm-up lap that forced him back to the Kawasaki pit box to switch to his spare machine for the 26-lap race, which he then had to start from pit lane.
With brand new tyres fitted front and rear to his second Ninja ZX-RR, de Puniet struggled with grip problems on the opening lap, and by the time his tyres were up to temperature and working, the rest of the field had opened up a big gap on the luckless Kawasaki rider.
Undeterred, de Puniet put his head down and pushed hard throughout the race, making up places wherever he could to salvage valuable championship points with 14th place at the chequered flag.
|Shinya Nakano: 2nd
"It goes without saying that I'm happy to score my best result in MotoGP with second place here today, although I was happy enough when I thought I was going to finish third! I knew I needed to be on the front row to secure a good result on this new Assen circuit, and Bridgestone certainly gave me the qualifying tyre to achieve that. I got a good start, but I just couldn't stay with Colin, Nicky and John during the opening laps. We had to go for a hard front tyre because of the rise in temperature this afternoon, and I had some chatter from the front early on in the race. But then it improved and I was able to chase down and pass John as the race approached the halfway stage. At the end I was too far back to see what happened to Colin, but as I came through the final chicane I saw his bike on the side of the track, but it was a second or so before I realised that this meant I was in second place. I have to say thank you to the team who, despite our recent run of bad luck, have never lost their confidence in me. When the team are confident in me, it gives me confidence on the bike. This result was not just down to me, but to everyone in the Kawasaki Racing Team who've worked so hard this year."
|Harald Eckl: Team Principal
"Today is a very special day for Shinya Nakano and the Kawasaki Racing Team. Shinya scored his best ever result in MotoGP, bringing to an end the run of bad luck that we've had over the past few rounds. I'd also like to say a big thank you to the team, who have all worked hard for this result today. I am sorry for Randy. Once again he was disadvantaged at the start through no fault of his own, but he battled on to pick up championship points and more valuable experience. I hope that, at the next race in Donington, he will have the chance to show the potential that he undoubtedly possesses."