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De Puniet surprised but happy with first podium

De Puniet surprised but happy with first podium

A delighted Kawasaki Racing team celebrated Randy de Puniet's first ever MotoGP podium on Sunday after he took second place in a thrilling, but tricky race at Twin Ring Motegi.

A delighted Kawasaki Racing team celebrated Randy de Puniet's first ever MotoGP podium on Sunday after he took second place in a thrilling, but tricky race at Twin Ring Motegi.

The 26-year-old the Frenchman started from fourth on the grid and got off to a poor start which saw him drop back to tenth place and then had to contend with a couple of trips into the gravel - and a pit stop to change bikes - but nothing could stop him from scoring his first ever premier class podium.

What had started as a wet race soon turned out to be a dry one and pit lane was a hive of frenzied activity as the riders came in to change to bikes with slick tyres. De Puniet swapped machines at the end of lap seven and went from eighth position to 13th when he rejoined the track. From there, he made steady progress until finding himself behind eventual winner, Loris Capirossi, on lap 16, where he stayed until the end.

It was a well deserved reward for De Puniet, his crew and the Kawasaki team after a season in which he has shown flashes of brilliance and at times demonstrated great pace.

"I chose to use a hard rain tyre but after a few laps it felt too hard and twice I ended up in the gravel, losing me a lot of time," explained the French rider. "I changed to the bike with the slicks and, when I exited the pits, I thought my race was over but I continued to push."

"When I saw on my pit board I was in second I was really surprised, but to be on the podium in Japan for Kawasaki and Bridgestone is perfect. And I'm really grateful to my crew because they've worked so hard to help me get here."

Tags:
MotoGP, 2007, A-STYLE GRAND PRIX OF JAPAN

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