Air intake problem hinders de Puniet’s charge

Monday, 8 April 2013

Randy de Puniet was the second-highest placed CRT bike in the season-opening Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar, but hit trouble midway through the race.

The Frenchman started 14th for Power Electronics Aspar, rising to 12th in the race but taking the chequered flag six and a half seconds behind teammate Aleix Espargaró.

“If on Thursday, after the first practice session, I had been told that I would end the weekend as well as I did, then I would have been happy,” he admits. “Throughout the weekend, mainly (Saturday), we improved our confidence issues with the front end.

“Today (Sunday) I had a good feeling over the first three quarters of the race; I could stick with my teammate Aleix and, although he escaped slightly, I could reel him back in. However, with eight laps to go I started having problems with the left-handers, as I just couldn't turn into them.

“Later, with eight laps to go, I started to have chatter problems and lost almost two seconds per lap. It seemed like the air intake had come unstuck, which impeded me from turning the bars and led to a lot of bouncing. It's a shame, as I could have stayed with Aleix throughout if not.

“We have to think positive. At least I was able to complete the race and was also the second best CRT rider. Despite this setback, we had a very consistent race.”

In 2012, Frenchman de Puniet missed out on the inaugural CRT title by just 12 points. He strives to collect the honour this year.

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