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Nakano goes solo to defend Kawasaki at Estoril

Nakano goes solo to defend Kawasaki at Estoril

Nakano goes solo to defend Kawasaki at Estoril

Shinya Nakano had to ride solo in Sunday's Portuguese GP after team-mate Alex Hoffman withdrew from the race due to a wrist and ankle injury he sustained during a mid-week riding exhibition in Estoril.

After a fifth place finish last week in Spain, Nakano ran a focused race in Estoril. He started in tenth place before initially sliding back. Unable to make an impression on the lead group Nakano held 11th for 16th laps, before moving into the top ten and then riding superbly over the final laps to clinch eighth.

"That was not an easy race, especially with rain on some fast sections of the course," said Nakano. "It was very difficult to see if the track was wet, so I had to keep checking my visor and windscreen for water.

"It is very difficult to ride a MotoGP bike on slick tyres on a wet track. My lap times were what I expected, but the front group seemed to be able to go faster than in practice and I couldn't stay with them from the start. I got some good points today, but I'm never happy to be eighth, we need to keep working on engine performance."

The eighth place finish sees Nakano move to sixth place in the overall championship standings with 19 points while it puts Kawasaki in third place in the constructors championship, two points ahead of Ducati and 13 points in front of Suzuki.

The result pleased team Manager Harald Eckl, who commented, "I'm satisfied with the result in the prevailing weather conditions, which were not easy for the riders. Shinya didn't have the best start, but he did a very good job with constant lap times, to score some very valuable points for the team in the championship."

Technical Director Ichiro Yoda said the difficult conditions provided a good opportunity to evaluate the bike's performance, "I am happy for the points from this race in these very difficult conditions. This weekend was a good opportunity for us to analyse our weak points and the areas in which we need to catch up, and quickly. Clearly the main area is engine development and engine management systems. Our chassis and Bridgestone tyres are performing well."

MotoGP, 2005, GRANDE PREMIO DE PORTUGAL, Shinya Nakano, Kawasaki Racing Team

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