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Nakano improves best grid for Kawasaki

Nakano improves best grid for Kawasaki

Nakano improves best grid for Kawasaki

Shinya Nakano continued his impressive start to the season with Kawasaki at Assen this afternoon, setting the fifth fastest time of the final qualifying session to record the Japanese manufacturers' highest grid position since launching their MotoGP project at the start of last season.

It is also the best qualifying result for a Kawasaki rider in the premier-class since Kork Ballington qualified in fourth place for the Grand Prix of Finland at the Imatra circuit back in 1981. Ballington's third place finish in that same race was the last podium finish for a Kawasaki in the premier-class.

"I didn't expect this fifth position after such a difficult day yesterday," commented Nakano, who was the slowest rider in a wet first qualifying on Thursday. "For this to be the best qualifying result so far for Kawasaki is even better. With the rain we have lost a lot of time for a dry set-up but, finally, this afternoon, with some changes, the rear of the bike was working much better.

"Our race set-up in the dry is still not perfect, but the bike feels good through the fast sections. I was lucky that the seat padding that broke away did so just at the end of the final lap, because if this had happened earlier I would have had to abandon my last qualifying run."

MotoGP, 2004, GAULOISES TT ASSEN, Shinya Nakano, Kawasaki Racing Team

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