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Frustrating start to season for De Puniet

Frustrating start to season for De Puniet

Making his debut for his new team LCR Honda on Sunday, Randy de Puniet was frustrated not to finish higher than in ninth position at round one of the new season at the Losail International circuit.

Making his debut for his new team LCR Honda on Sunday, Randy de Puniet was frustrated not to finish higher than in ninth position at round one of the new season at the Losail International circuit.

Moving from Kawasaki to the satellite Honda outfit over the 07-08 off season, De Puniet demonstrated his capabilities with some strong testing performances, including his practice runs at the Qatar floodlit test. His good pace continued on the first two days of the Commercialbank Grand Prix of Qatar and he secured a fifth place start on the grid with the potent Michelin qualifying tyre.

However, during the race he struggled with a lack of feeling in the early laps, only finding his rhythm once the contest had progressed and he had been passed by a number of riders, though he did manage to finish in the top ten and complete a race at Losail for the first time in his World Championship career.

"After the good testing days of last week and the pace we had in race trim I was expecting something better," said De Puniet. "My start was not perfect, but in the first two laps it was like I was riding the bike on ice. I was not comfortable with the front and I struggled to stay up."

"Then the situation improved," he continued, "and I started to lap consistently fast, overtaking a couple of riders. In the last five laps I tried my best to pass Loris Capirossi but his bike acceleration was better than mine. The top ten position is a positive result for me as this is the first ever time that I have finished this race."

Meanwhile, the French rider's team boss Lucio Cecchinello told motogp.com after the race: "After starting from the second row and after having a very good practice, we found some trouble on the start and Randy released the clutch a little bit too early. So he didn't have a good start and overtaking of course takes time. In the early laps he didn't have a good feeling with the front tyre."

Looking ahead to round two of the season back on European soil, meanwhile, Cecchinello stated: "Of course we will study all our data and there are a lot of small areas where we can try to improve our performances. I think we will be more competitive in Jerez."

Tags:
MotoGP, 2008, Commercialbank GRAND PRIX OF QATAR, Randy de Puniet, LCR Honda MotoGP

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