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Kawasaki´s bittersweet Malaysian adventure

Kawasaki´s bittersweet Malaysian adventure

Following excellent qualifying results for Kawasaki Racing at the Polini Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix, the team were left with mixed emotions after Sundays race.

Following excellent qualifying results for Kawasaki Racing at the Polini Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix, the team were left with mixed emotions after Sundays race.

Randy de Puniet had a strong race to finish fourth, whereas Ant West had to settle for 15th after he was given a ride-through penalty for starting in the wrong position on the Sepang grid.

With the President of Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd, Mr Tadaharu Ohashi, and the President of Kawasaki´s Consumer Products and Machinery Company, Mr Shinichi Tamba, both watching on from the stands, De Puniet and West were extra keen to perform well at the penultimate round of the season.

With West producing his best qualifying result of fifth yesterday he looked in good shape to continue his solid form for the team that has given him his big break in MotoGP this season, but the Australian got his bearings wrong when lining up at the start of the race and was later punished with a ride-through penalty.

It was a tremendous shame for the 26 year-old who had made good early progress and was in the amongst the front runners in fifth place when he rode through pit lane at the end of lap four, accepting the officials decision to his dismay his fate mirroring similar disappointment when he was adjudged to have jump started at Motegi and the ride-through cost him the race lead.

After the race, West stated: ´When I saw the ride through penalty on my pit board, I didn´t know what it was for as I knew I hadn´t jumped the start. I didn´t know exactly what was wrong until I came back in at the end of the race. I made up a few places, even though I felt pretty flat after the ride through.´

´I was really frustrated but then I saw I was catching up with some guys and kept on fighting although, to be honest, I didn´t feel completely motivated and I´m sure that´ll be reflected in my lap times. The weekend had been so fantastic before this so I´m gutted. I´ll have to come back and take my revenge on Sepang next year.´

It was a happier day for De Puniet though - after qualifying a fraction over two tenths off pole in fourth place as he held his own against the top riders in the class to run at a great pace, contesting the podium spots and eventually missing out on a rostrum finish by just under 1.5s to earn 13 points in fourth.

The Frenchman said: ´Im very happy, it was a good race. For the first time in 17 rounds, I managed a good start and then I took Melandri by the first corner, holding third for a few laps. After that he passed me and I tried to stay with the leading group.´

´I did make some small mistakes during the race but the gap between me and the others didn´t change and towards the end I got within less than a second of Pedrosa. But then I had a few problems with stability under braking and decided to hold my place rather than push too hard and take any risks. The bike worked very well today and I´m so happy with this result.´

Tags:
MotoGP, 2007, POLINI MALAYSIAN MOTORCYCLE GRAND PRIX, Kawasaki Racing Team

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