MOTOGP WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 2006
KAWASAKI RACING TEAM PRESS OFFICE
16 JULY 2006 - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SIXTH AT SACHSENRING FOR KAWASAKI'S NAKANO
Kawasaki's Shinya Nakano took a hard fought sixth place in today's German Grand Prix at Sachsenring, to move up to eighth place in the World Championship standings.
But while Nakano celebrated achieving his aim of a top six finish today, his Kawasaki teammate, Randy de Puniet, was left disappointed after a mechanical problem forced him to retire his Ninja ZX-RR from the 30-lap race just short of the halfway point.
Nakano got a good start from fourth place on the grid, but the Kawasaki pilot was forced wide at the first corner and found himself pushed back to ninth place as a large group of riders managed to squeeze through on the inside of the turn.
The 28-year-old Japanese rider quickly got the better of John Hopkins to move up to eighth place, from where he was able to see the seven-way battle for the lead being played out in front of him.
Nakano was pushing hard to catch the leading group when he was elevated to sixth position on lap eleven, after Kenny Roberts crashed out of the battle for the lead at the last turn, taking the luckless Makoto Tamada into the gravel trap with him.
During the closing stages of the race Nakano managed to close the gap to Loris Capirossi to just three tenths-of-a-second, but was unable to pass the Italian for fifth place on the final lap, and was forced to settle for sixth, and ten vital championship points, at the line.
Starting from the fourth row of the grid, Randy de Puniet knew he was facing a tough challenge in today's race, but the 25-year-old Frenchman made the job even harder with a less than perfect start that left him down in 15th position at the end of the opening lap.
The Kawasaki rider fought his way through into 11th place with some aggressive overtaking manoeuvres, and was chasing down Sete Gibernau for tenth when a mechanical problem with his Ninja ZX-RR left him with no other option but to retire from the race.
|Shinya Nakano: 6th
"I was on the outside going into the first turn, and I could see everyone pushing up the inside, so I decided to stay wide to avoid any chance of a first corner crash. I tried to follow the leading riders through the turn, but I couldn't get back inside and I lost positions. At the start of the race I was having some problems carrying speed through the right-hand corners, which lost me time and meant I wasn't able to match the pace of the leading group. By the middle of the race I could still see the battle for the lead, but they were too far in front for me to close the gap, despite me setting my fastest lap while chasing them. At the end I thought I would be able to catch Loris for fifth place, but by the time I was close enough to think about a pass the race was over. After the problems we had with set-up during free practice I'm pretty happy with today's result, and it's good to be back in the top ten of the championship standings."
|Harald Eckl: Team Principal
"We came to Sachsenring expecting better than sixth place in the race, and with conditions better suited to our bike today, and Shinya starting from fourth place on the grid, there was no reason for us to lower our expectations ahead of the race. But then both riders got a bad start, and places lost at the start are difficult to make up at Sachsenring, because there are not so many places to pass at this track. I think this is the main reason why we didn't meet our expectations today."