MOTOGP WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 2006
KAWASAKI RACING TEAM PRESS OFFICE
20 AUGUST 2006 - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NAKANO TAKES HARD FOUGHT EIGHTH PLACE AT BRNO
Kawasaki's Shinya Nakano brought his Ninja ZX-RR home in a hard fought eighth place in today's Czech Grand Prix at Brno, to consolidate his tenth position in the World Championship Standings.
Nakano got a good start from the second row of the grid, but dropped down the order after getting his Ninja ZX-RR sideways while battling for position on the opening lap.
The 28-year-old Japanese rider was quick to rejoin the battle for fourth place, but was forced to ride on the limit and was unable to fight his way through to the front of the group.
After lapping consistently throughout the race, Nakano waited until the last lap before setting up Nicky Hayden for a pass, but as the Kawasaki rider positioned himself to overtake the current championship leader, Suzuki's John Hopkins managed to find space on the inside to pass both riders for seventh place.
Undeterred, Nakano set up Hayden again at the final turn, squeezing up the inside of the American to steal eighth place at the line.
Like his Kawasaki teammate, Randy de Puniet also got a good start from the fourth row of the grid, but all his good work was undone in the first turn, when he went for the brakes too early and allowed four riders through, to leave himself down in 15th place.
The 25-year-old Frenchman quickly dispatched Alex Hofmann to move up one position, before chasing hard after the battle for tenth place. De Puniet managed to close onto the back of Chris Vermeulen, but was forced to back off without challenging for the position when the rear of his Ninja ZX-RR started to slide under power.
Although disappointed not to finish higher up the order at the chequered flag than 14th, de Puniet took some consolation from his consistent pace over the 22-lap race, and the fact that he now has one more race finish under his belt, in this, his debut MotoGP season.
The Kawasaki Racing Team will stay on at Brno for a development test on Monday, during which both riders will test and evaluate a range of chassis and suspension settings, as well as conducting tyre tests for Kawasaki's tyre partner, Bridgestone.
|Shinya Nakano: 8th
"I got away from the start pretty well, but then I had a big slide halfway round the first lap, which lost me some time and dropped me to the back of the group fighting for fourth. While it was possible to match the pace of the guys in front of me, passing was a different matter. I was right on the limit just staying in touch, and with such a big group battling for position, it was difficult to even see a way past the riders in front. On the final lap I decided to have a go at Nicky Hayden but, as I lined myself up for the pass, John Hopkins charged up the inside of both of us to steal seventh place. I managed to get up the inside of Nicky going into the final corner and was able to hold on to the line to take eighth place, and the all-important championship points. Overall, although I would obviously have preferred to finish higher up the order, I'm happy enough with this result ahead of the overseas races."
|Harald Eckl: Team Principal
"Shinya's eighth place finish doesn't really do justice to his performance today. He managed to stay with the battle for fourth place for most of the race, and in different circumstances I think he could have finished fifth or sixth. Maybe he should have tried a move on the riders in front one or two times, but it's difficult to know whether this was even possible watching from the pit wall; only he can make that decision. But at the end, Shinya rode a good race, the bike and the tyres worked well, and I think we have to be satisfied with his result. Randy's mistake into the first turn really messed up his race. This is something we need to work on with Randy, and I hope that if we can help him improve in this area, he will then be able to realise his full potential and get the results that he deserves."