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Randy de Puniet explains his two crashes at Mugello

Randy de Puniet explains his two crashes at Mugello

Randy de Puniet explains his two crashes at Mugello

Randy De Puniet started the 250cc race at Mugello from pole position with every right to believe that he had a chance of his first ever victory in his hands. The Frenchman had already finished on the podium three times this season, twice in second place, and had set a blistering new pole record at the Italian circuit that only Manuel Poggiali could get near. However, he crashed out of second place on the 14th lap and then hit the gravel traps for a second time after remounting and his Gran Premio Cinzano d´Italia was over. Here, De Puniet explains the reason for his problems during the race. Randy, you looked very comfortable sat behind Poggiali but suddenly the front end seemed to wipe out. What happened?

Randy de Puniet: At first I had no idea what had happened. I lost control of the front when I opened the throttle, which seems almost an impossible thing to do as all of the weight transfers to the back and lightens the tension on the front. I just got up and tried to get back into the race as soon as possible. The bike was not too badly damaged and I could still have managed second position. I got back up to third but fell again, losing the front in exactly the same way. Was it a tyre problem?

RdP: No, we made a good choice on tyres. We had done a good job all weekend. I was very comfortable with the chassis and we spent a lot of time during qualifying working to get the right tyre-chassis combination for the race. The problem was with the brakes. The front wheel kept sticking on the entry to the corners, without me even touching the brakes. I should have been more careful with it after the first crash, but I had no prior warning beforehand so I just tried to pick up my previous rhythm. It was afterwards when I was watching the crashes on TV that I realised there must have been a problem. Technically, what exactly happened?

RdP: I really don´t know. The data confirms that they were really strange crashes. In the first one there was only 80% weight transfer from the front to the back, so the wheel must have been under braking for it to lose grip at that point. Obviously you were very disappointed…

RdP: Of course. I could have got a great result at Mugello. I would have loved to win my first race in Italy – for Aprilia and for my team. Also, I really love this track and I had great fun setting those times in qualifying. When you look at the championship, it makes the result even harder to take. I was so pleased to have got to within seven points of the leader after such a bad start to the season at Suzuka. I was calm and determined leading up to Mugello but I have left with a 32 point gap to the leader and fifth place in the championship. I have good reason to be disappointed. Now I have to look forward to this weekend at Barcelona. I like this track and during a race simulation at the IRTA test I broke the circuit record six times, with a best lap of 1´46. 85. You can count on me to go for it again there.

250cc, 2003, Randy de Puniet

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