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Nakano hoping for happy birthday at Sepang

Nakano hoping for happy birthday at Sepang

Nakano hoping for happy birthday at Sepang

Shinya Nakano is hoping to have more than his birthday to celebrate at the Marlboro Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix at Sepang this Sunday. Nakano turns 27 on race day, and a strong result in the race would add the icing on the cake in what will be his 60th career start in the premier-class.

"The conditions will again be hot, but after Qatar I am ready for this and I know the track very well because of all the testing in Sepang," said Nakano. "I enjoy racing at this circuit, so I think that a good qualifying and race result is possible.

"The track is wide and there is more than one racing line, so there are many opportunities to overtake. We have seen the potential of the ZX-RR recently and now I want to keep getting good results in the races.

"In Kuala Lumpur I have been training a lot because I didn't do much work in Qatar, only four laps in the race. I've had some bad luck this season, but I hope everything goes smoothly with the bike in the Sepang race, so that I can enjoy my birthday."

Nakano's team-mate Alex Hofmann is also looking to consolidate his first full season of MotoGP racing aboard the Ninja ZX-RR, with a consistent string of top ten finishes. Hofmann, 24, is set to make just his 22nd MotoGP start in Sepang, and is in good form following a tenth in Japan and ninth place in the heat wave of Qatar.

Since arriving from Qatar, Hofmann has taken time off and enjoyed a day of wake boarding at Mine City with MotoGP colleagues including John Hopkins, Jeremy McWilliams, Troy Bayliss and Colin Edwards. Not surprisingly, there was a strong element of competition, although no championship points were counted.

"For once the weather in Malaysia feels relaxing after Qatar last week," commented Hofmann. "Since arriving in Malaysia I have been wake boarding with some of the other riders and it was a lot of fun. I crashed a couple of times, but at least the water is soft.

"We didn't keep score but it seems that, at the moment, Colin Edwards is number one in wake boarding. Coming to Sepang is always enjoyable because I really like this track, and a lot of the winter testing is done here.

"The two long straights require a lot of top end power output, but the rest of the track demands good corner speed and precise technique, so there are a couple of positives for the ZX-RR here."

Tags:
MotoGP, 2004, MARLBORO MALAYSIAN MOTORCYCLE GRAND PRIX, Shinya Nakano

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