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Kawasaki discreet at Donington

Kawasaki discreet at Donington

Kawasaki discreet at Donington

Donington Park saw something of a discreet performance from the Kawasaki Racing team, with Randy de Puniet the sole survivor after Shinya Nakano's retirement.

De Puniet opted for a relatively soft compound Bridgestone rear tyre for the 30-lap race in a bid to take maximum advantage from his second row grid position, but the 25-year-old Frenchman was forced to revise his race strategy after a disappointing start saw him down in 12th place at the first turn.

In the early stages of the race de Puniet was able to run with current championship leader, Nicky Hayden, and reigning World Champion, Valentino Rossi, but was forced to slow as his rear tyre went off towards the end of the race.

"I got a bad start, once again, but for the first half of the race I was able to follow the group with Valentino Rossi, Nicky Hayden, Colin Edwards and Shinya, but then I started to lose grip at the rear in the middle of the race and I wasn't able to continue at the same pace. My original strategy for the race was to try and stay with the leading group from the start, and for that reason we opted to go with the softer of the two rear tyre compounds we had available. A disappointing start put paid to that plan. I just tried to keep pushing as hard as I could when the rear tyre started to go off, but I think I was losing one second each lap, which allowed Carlos Checa and Makoto Tamada to catch me towards the end. I was hoping for better than 12th today after good practice and qualifying sessions yesterday, but my pace during the early part of the race was encouraging and I'm happy to have another race finish behind me."

Despite the problems, the Kawasaki rider looked set for his first top ten finish of the season, but was pushed back to 11th place after a late charge by Carlos Checa, and then lost one place more to Makoto Tamada on the very last lap.

From the start the 28-year-old Kawasaki rider experienced problems when changing down through the gearbox on his Ninja ZX-RR, which he managed to compensate for with the clutch, but then, on lap 14, the bike suddenly lost power and Nakano was forced to retire from the race at Macleans.

"Right from the beginning of the race I was struggling with a gearbox problem that made it difficult to shift down through the gears. After a few laps I figured out how to compensate for this problem using the clutch. I was pushing as hard as I could to catch the group of riders in front of me, but then I felt the engine suddenly lose power and I had no other option but to retire from the race. It's disappointing after finishing so well in Assen, but now we need to concentrate on our preparations for the next race at Sachsenring, which is an important one for the Kawasaki Racing Team."

MotoGP, 2006, GAS BRITISH GRAND PRIX, Kawasaki Racing Team

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