MOTOGP WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 2006
KAWASAKI RACING TEAM PRESS OFFICE
02 JULY 2006 - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DE PUNIET TWELFTH AT DONINGTON AS NAKANO RETIRES
Randy de Puniet was the sole Kawasaki survivor in today's British Grand Prix at Donington Park, bringing his Ninja ZX-RR home in 12th place after a mechanical problem forced his teammate, Shinya Nakano, to retire from the race at the halfway stage.
De Puniet opted for a relatively soft compound Bridgestone rear tyre for today's 30-lap race in a bid to take maximum advantage from his second row grid position, but the 25-year-old Frenchman was forced to revise his race strategy after a disappointing start saw him down in 12th place at the first turn.
In the early stages of the race de Puniet was able to run with current championship leader, Nicky Hayden, and reigning World Champion, Valentino Rossi, but was forced to slow as his rear tyre went off towards the end of the race.
Despite the problems, the Kawasaki rider looked set for his first top ten finish of the season, but was pushed back to 11th place after a late charge by Carlos Checa, and then lost one place more to Makoto Tamada on the very last lap.
After the high of finishing second at Assen just one week ago, Shinya Nakano experienced the other end of the emotional spectrum today at Donington, as a mechanical problem forced him to retire his Ninja ZX-RR at the halfway point.
From the start the 28-year-old Kawasaki rider experienced problems when changing down through the gearbox on his Ninja ZX-RR, which he managed to compensate for with the clutch, but then, on lap 14, the bike suddenly lost power and Nakano was forced to retire from the race at Macleans.
Dani Pedrosa took his second win of the season in today's British Grand Prix, which was run in unseasonably hot conditions and enjoyed by 68,000 sunburnt British race fans.
|Shinya Nakano: DNF
"Right from the beginning of the race I was struggling with a gearbox problem that made it difficult to shift down through the gears. After a few laps I figured out how to compensate for this problem using the clutch. I was pushing as hard as I could to catch the group of riders in front of me, but then I felt the engine suddenly lose power and I had no other option but to retire from the race. It's disappointing after finishing so well in Assen, but now we need to concentrate on our preparations for the next race at Sachsenring, which is an important one for the Kawasaki Racing Team.
|Harald Eckl: Team Principal
"It is not the day we expected. After good practice and qualifying sessions yesterday, today's result is disappointing for us. Of course, we need to analyse the problem that Shinya experienced with his race bike and, if necessary, come up with a solution ahead of the next race at Sachsenring. Randy was also disappointed with his result today, but I think he went for too soft a rear tyre for today's conditions, and that's why he lost the two places right at the end of the race."