|MOTOGP WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 2006
KAWASAKI RACING TEAM PRESS OFFICE
29 OCTOBER 2006 - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
|NAKANO ENDS THE SEASON WITH TOP TEN FINISH AT VALENCIA
|Kawasaki's Shinya Nakano took a hard fought seventh place in today's season ending Grand Prix of Valencia, as Nicky Hayden secured the 2006 world championship title with a third place finish...
Nakano was baulked off the start by the collision between championship
contenders Hayden and Valentino Rossi, but the 29-year-old Japanese rider
recovered quickly and was immediately behind Rossi when the Italian crashed
out of the race, and out of the championship running.
After battling with Suzuki's Chris Vermeulen for much of the middle part
of the race, Nakano was eventually elevated to sixth place when the Australian
missed a braking marker and ran straight on into the gravel trap.
The chattering problem Nakano suffered during practice returned as the
race drew to a close, and the Kawasaki pilot was unable to hold off the
challenge of Toni Elias, forcing him to settle for seventh place at the
AlRandy de Puniet was left disappointed and frustrated after crashing out
of today's season finale just five laps into the race.
The 25-year-old Frenchman was pushing hard to make up for a bad start, but his race ended prematurely when he lost the front going into turn two, sliding off into the gravel without injury.
Kawasaki's Ninja ZX-RR machines will be back on track tomorrow, but not with Nakano or de Puniet at the controls. 30 journalists will be given the chance to test Kawasaki's MotoGP machine, including former world champions, Kevin Schwantz, Alex Criville and Dirk Raudies.
|Shinya Nakano: 7th
|"That was one hard race with which to end the season. I was right
behind Valentino from the start, and there was a chance to pass him on
the straight, but it would have been a close pass, and I didn't want to
crash into him when he was fighting for the championship. But then he crashed
in front of me anyway in turn two, leaving me to battle with Chris Vermeulen.
It was impossible to put in a pass, because we were struggling with the
same problem in exactly the same places, but then I got the place anyway
when he missed his braking marker and ran straight on. Towards the middle
of the race I started to suffer the same problems with chattering that
we had in practice, so I was unable to counter Elias when he came past
me for sixth place. I'm disappointed to have finished the last race of
the season outside the top five, but I'm also glad to have reached the
chequered flag for the first time in three races. I would like to say a
big thank you to the team, and to Bridgestone, for all their hard work
throughout the season. They have been outstanding."
|Harald Eckl: Team Principal
|"I think we were all expecting a better end to the season today, but
it seems that neither rider had the ideal set-up for the conditions this
afternoon. Shinya was finding it difficult to maintain his earlier pace
once the race reached the halfway point, but at least he managed to ride
through the chatter problems to end the season with a top ten finish. We
need to work with Randy on his starts, because he put himself at an immediate
disadvantage by being slow off the line this afternoon. When you're pushing
to make up places lost at the start, then you obviously increase your chances
of crashing, which is exactly what happened to Randy today. But, although
we were hoping for a better result today, I would like to thank everyone
in the team, as well as the two riders, for their hard work and dedication
during what has been a long and arduous season."