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LCR Honda expect to retain De Puniet in 2009

LCR Honda expect to retain De Puniet in 2009

Having seen Randy de Puniet qualify fourth at Misano, LCR Honda boss Lucio Cecchinello confirmed that he intends to keep the Frenchman with his team next season.

After Randy de Puniet placed his satellite Honda RC212V at the front of the second row for Sunday´s Gran Premio Cinzano di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini MotoGP contest, his team manager Lucio Cecchinello was understandably a happy man.

The 2008 campaign thus far has not been the easiest season for LCR Honda, but at what is considered Cecchinello´s home race De Puniet has given himself a great chance of a good result at Misano given his fourth placed grid slot.

In a buoyant mood at the end of Saturday´s proceedings Cecchinello thanked his team for their hard work and confirmed that he has a proposal on the table to retain the services of De Puniet and his technical staff next year – with the paperwork having already been sent to HRC and approval of the plans expected within a month.

Cecchinello told, `We will continue our project with Honda and Randy. We want to confirm this as soon as possible and we are waiting for final approval from Honda which we expect to get, with all the technical details, in the middle of September.´

Noting the significance of this weekend´s event for LCR Honda in general the former 125cc rider explained, `For me being here is nice because I started my racing career at this track. I can´t really say that I know the circuit well because it is quite different as the riders go in the opposite direction now and the layout is different. But it gives me a great feeling to be here because I have good memories of this place. It is a very important weekend for us because we have a lot of Italian companies supporting us and they are here with their guests.´

Commenting on the improvement in competitiveness his team have made since Brno, Cecchinello also stated, `Michelin have worked very hard and brought some new material so we are very happy with the performance of the tyres. We have also been helped by our chassis set-up. We don´t know what was the problem for the other (Honda) riders but we have used a different suspension and our chassis package seems very good here.´

Meanwhile, having equalled his best grid position of the year, De Puniet himself said, `When I came out on qualifiers my pace was pretty fast but the qualifying session was still very tough. I had a very good flying lap in the last lap which moved us to fourth on the grid. This race will be very close and it is important to start from the first places in order to close the gap to the fastest riders. I feel happy because I have qualified as the fastest Honda behind three factory bikes and this means that my crew have done an excellent job together with Michelin.´


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