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Difficult opening day for Kawasaki

Difficult opening day for Kawasaki

Difficult opening day for Kawasaki

Kawasaki Racing Press Release

Kawasaki Racing Team riders, Shinya Nakano and Randy de Puniet, remain upbeat and confident after a difficult opening day at the Losail International circuit in Qatar.

Nakano finished today's free practice in 13th place overall, after struggling to find a good rhythm on his Ninja ZX-RR around the long, and technically demanding, Losail circuit.

The 28-year-old Japanese rider spent much of today working with his crew to refine the set-up of his Ninja ZX-RR, critical on a circuit that demands a well-balanced bike that changes direction easily. Despite making improvements to both his set-up and his lap time towards the end of the afternoon session, Nakano was unable to find a comfortable feeling with the bike, after losing the front and rear repeatedly at certain sections of the 5.380 km Qatar circuit.

Nakano is confident that only minor changes are required overnight to transform the handling of his Ninja ZX-RR ready for tomorrow, when he will also work his way through the many tyre options that Bridgestone have brought to Qatar, in order to identify a suitable tyre for Saturday's 22-lap race.

Randy de Puniet also had a difficult opening day at Qatar, as he struggled with the hand injury he sustained after highsiding himself out of the morning warm-up session for the Spanish Grand Prix two weeks ago.

The 25-year-old Frenchman could only manage ten laps during first free practice this morning, but was much improved for the afternoon session after receiving treatment and painkilling injections in the circuit medical centre beforehand.

De Puniet will continue to receive treatment for the injury ahead of tomorrow's practice and qualifying sessions, in which he remains confident of improving significantly on his 18th position from today.

Shinya Nakano: 13th

"Today I just couldn't find a good rhythm on the bike. We are a little way off on set-up at the moment, not far off, but far enough to cause me some problems on the track. I lost grip at the front and the back during both practices today, which means I wasn't able to push as hard as I would have liked. I think we only need to make small changes to the bike to see a big difference, and once I'm able to push, I'm confident I can improve on my lap time considerably. At this track tyres are critical, and tomorrow we must focus on working our way through the tyre options that Bridgestone have available for us here."

Randy de Puniet: 18th

"Yesterday my hand felt okay, but this morning when I woke up it was painful even to unscrew the top from a bottle of water. Maybe I slept with the hand in a bad position; I don't know. This morning on the bike I had a lot of pain - on the back of my hand when braking, and closer to my wrist when accelerating - and it was unsafe to carry on. Between the sessions I received treatment at the medical centre, along with some painkilling shots, and the hand was a lot better in the afternoon. During the second session I concentrated not on fast times, but on being as smooth as possible. I am confident that, if my hand injury continues to improve tomorrow, then my lap times will do the same."

Harald Eckl: Team Principal

"Today was a difficult one for both riders. Once Shinya finds a set-up and a tyre he is happy with then I am confident that we will see him move steadily up the time sheet tomorrow. Randy is in some pain with his injured hand, but we saw an improvement this afternoon and, hopefully, after treatment and rest this evening, the injury will be less of a handicap for him tomorrow. We must work hard now to find a solution for this track, but I have every confidence that the team can do this."

Tags:
MotoGP, 2006, COMMERCIALBANK GRAND PRIX OF QATAR, Kawasaki Racing Team

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