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Tough weekend sees result reverse for Kawasaki

Tough weekend sees result reverse for Kawasaki

Tough weekend sees result reverse for Kawasaki

Shinya Nakano salvaged a single World Championship point for the Fuchs Kawasaki Racing Team when he finished fifteenth in the British Grand Prix on Sunday. With team-mate Alex Hofmann in nineteenth place, the race ended in frustration for both riders, who just a week ago produced a double top ten result, the best MotoGP classification yet for the young project, at the German Grand Prix.

Finding a competitive chassis, engine and tyre set-up for the Ninja ZX-RR to match the unique demands of the Donington track proved elusive over three days of practice and racing. Consequently, the 30-lap race proved to be a test of the resourcefulness of Nakano and Hofmann, who both refused to give up as they battled reduced grip levels over the final laps.

"This was a very difficult race for me, and I couldn't ride to my full potential; really it was like that from first practice on Friday," said Nakano was not able too push from twelfth on the grid and, after dropping to sixteenth, the determined Japanese rider made sure of a points finish over the final laps. "The team made a lot of set-up adjustments, but we never found the ideal compromise for Donington. From the first lap I couldn't get good grip and I was not able to push. I didn't have my normal level of confidence, but I guess one point is better than zero. It's disappointing, but now we have three weeks before the next race to try for a better result."

Hofmann ran off the track at Redgate and then concentrated on finishing the race. "I had a great start and was able to pass a bunch of guys and, for five laps, I thought I could attack and hold my position and finish in the points," he said. "But then I realised that the rear grip was not going to make it easy. The bike was starting to slide a lot and then, on lap nine, I arrived at turn one, there was a little bit of rain and I was already too late on the brakes; I was in the slipstream behind a group of riders. I made it through the gravel trap but was in last place and from there I just wanted to get to the finish. We have to improve a lot to have a chance at this track."

"Just one week after our best result of the season this is obviously not a good result for us," commented Team Manager Harald Eckl. "Clearly we have a lot of work to do, both with the bike and tyres. Three low gear corners do not suit the current power characteristics of our engine, but we are continuing a development programme to improve that, and all areas of the Ninja ZX-RR. The riders did the best they could; we just never found the right balance."

MotoGP, 2004, CINZANO BRITISH GRAND PRIX, Kawasaki Racing Team

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