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Aprilia pair happy with points

Aprilia pair happy with points

Aprilia pair happy with points

Jeremy McWilliams and Shane Byrne revealed their relief at finishing in the points after an incident packed race at Motegi on Sunday.

Whilst most of the drama took place at the front of the pack, with a six rider pile-up in the first corner, there was plenty of action further down the order as McWilliams himself recovered from a crash to finish twelfth and Byrne rode through the pain barrier to clinch thirteenth.

McWilliams got off to a flying start, passing compatriot Neil Hodgson on the second lap to move into the top ten. However, the 40-year-old's hopes of recording his best finish of the season were dashed on lap four when he lost the front end of his Aprilia going into turn four just before the first tunnel.

Returning to the track in seventeenth position, McWilliams then produced a typically aggressive display to claw his way back into the points for the sixth time in the last seven races.

"I really enjoyed those first ten laps despite the crash," said McWilliams. "I was actually in a fight and having a good tussle with the Ducatis. Troy Bayliss wasn't getting away and I was thinking we'd be on for our best result of the season.

"But then I went into turn four and lost the front. I was off-brake and at full lean when it just folded. I'd run the same tyres I've used pretty much all season. I had the option to run a harder front and a harder rear and I got it wrong.

"When I got back on track and started to recover some places, I was struggling for grip from the rear. The crash was a nightmare really but at least we got a few more points."

Team-mate Byrne had a punishing day. Still recuperating from a badly dislocated left wrist he suffered a month ago in Brno, the 26-year-old's race was made all the more challenging by the energy-sapping hot and humid conditions.

Despite admitting on Saturday evening that he would probably not last more than five laps with the heavily swollen joint, Byrne braved the pain and a fuel pressure problem to score his first points since Donington Park in July.

"The race could not have gone on for another corner for me but I stuck at it and got some points," he said afterwards. "My head was telling me to pull in but my heart was saying to keep going. I gritted my teeth but by the end I was starting to feel the pain in my wrist.

"With about eight laps to go I had a fuel pressure problem but luckily I could finish the race. I'll go back to England now for more treatment on the wrist and hopefully be closer to full fitness."

Tags:
MotoGP, 2004, CAMEL GRAND PRIX OF JAPAN

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