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Nakano delighted with surprise second place

Nakano delighted with surprise second place

Nakano delighted with surprise second place

Kawasaki's Shinya Nakano scored his best ever result in motorcycle racing's premier class in Assen, as he brought his Ninja ZX-RR home in second place during an action-packed Dutch TT at Assen.

The 28-year-old Kawasaki rider took maximum advantage of his front row start, hitting the first turn in third place and then staying with the leading quartet of riders as they pulled out a lead on the pursuing pack.

"It goes without saying that I'm happy to score my best result in MotoGP with this second place, although I was happy enough when I thought I was going to finish third!" said Nakano. "I knew I needed to be on the front row to secure a good result on this new Assen circuit, and Bridgestone certainly gave me the qualifying tyre to achieve that. I got a good start, but I just couldn't stay with Colin, Nicky and John during the opening laps. We had to go for a hard front tyre because of the rise in temperature this afternoon, and I had some chatter from the front early on in the race. But then it improved and I was able to chase down and pass John as the race approached the halfway stage. At the end I was too far back to see what happened to Colin, but as I came through the final chicane I saw his bike on the side of the track, but it was a second or so before I realised that this meant I was in second place."

Randy de Puniet was quick to congratulate his Kawasaki teammate on his podium finish, despite the bitter disappointment of his own race. The 25-year-old Frenchman suffered a problem with his Ninja ZX-RR on the warm-up lap that forced him back to the Kawasaki pit box to switch to his spare machine for the 26-lap race, which he then had to start from pit lane.

With brand new tyres fitted front and rear to his second Ninja ZX-RR, de Puniet struggled with grip problems on the opening lap, and by the time his tyres were up to temperature and working, the rest of the field had opened up a big gap on the luckless Kawasaki rider.

"Congratulations to Shinya on his best result ever in MotoGP, I'm happy for him, even though I leave here myself feeling very frustrated with my race. I felt there was something wrong with the front of the bike on the warm-up lap, and while I didn't know what the problem was, I knew it was impossible to start the race on this bike. So, I had no option but to return to the pits for my spare bike, which was set-up differently to my number one machine. Starting from pit lane was bad enough, but then I couldn't push on the opening laps because the tyres on the spare bike were completely new. Once they were up to temperature I managed to make up some places, but after a good warm-up session this morning, I was hoping for so much more today. I will not dwell on our bad luck; instead I must look forward to next weekend's race in Donington."

MotoGP, 2006, A-STYLE TT ASSEN, Shinya Nakano

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