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Nakano savours tactical fifth.

Shinya Nakano helped his chances of securing a third Kawasaki MotoGP seat for 2009 by producing one of his best results of the season at Phillip Island on Sunday.

The Japanese, whose current Gresini Honda ride will go to Toni Elias, has been increasingly linked to the third 'Aspar' ZX-RR project - his final chance to continue as a full time MotoGP rider.

Nakano's best finish of the season so far was a fourth on his factory RCV debut at Brno, but claimed just twelve points in the three races since - a tally he was able to almost double with a tactical fifth in the Australian Grand Prix.

Nakano had qualified just ninth, but was up to sixth by the end of the opening lap and spent the second half of the race in a thrilling battle for fourth with James Toseland, Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso.

"Despite our problems in practice the race went well - I got a good start and managed to improve on my pace from practice so I'm really satisfied," said Shinya. "After the warm-up we decided on a medium compound tyre, which proved to be the right choice because the bike felt really balanced and I was able to stick with a fast group of riders from the start."

Shinya seemed strangely subdued as he held position at the tail of the pack, but was actually saving his softer compound rear tyre for the final laps - a tactic that paid off when he got past both Toseland and Dovizioso on the very last lap.

"Having chosen a softer compound I obviously didn't want to risk too much in the early stages because I needed to save some rubber for the end and on the final five laps I really pushed hard, taking two riders and crossing the line in fifth," he confirmed. " It has been a long time since I enjoyed a race like this so today I'm happy I was able to show our true potential and I'd like to thank the team for that.”

"I'm really happy with Shinya's race - he rode very well and was aggressive in the right way, which allowed him to go with a fast group," said team manager Fausto Gresini. "The tyre choice was the right one and he was rewarded for that. We needed a race like that because it gives us all the motivation to finish the season strongly."

Rookie team-mate Alex de Angelis was less successful, crashing out on the first lap.

"I'm really disappointed with today because I finally managed to get a good start and I'd made up some positions," said the San Marinese. "After the first couple of corners I was following de Puniet but he made a mistake under braking and I was too close behind him to avoid him. Unfortunately I came out worse and I'm disappointed because today was a good opportunity for us to show our potential. I'm sorry for the whole team because they've all worked so well here, making constant improvements in every session."

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Nakano, Dovizioso, Lorenzo, Toseland, Australian MotoGP 2008
Marquez and Miller, Qatar MotoGP test 2016
Pedrosa, Qatar MotoGP test, March 2016
Pedrosa, Qatar MotoGP test, March 2016
Baz, Qatar MotoGP test 2016
Pedrosa, Qatar MotoGP test, March 2016
Dovizioso, Qatar MotoGP test, March 2016
Marquez and Redding, Qatar MotoGP test 2016
Marquez and Redding, Qatar MotoGP test 2016
Pol Espargaro, Qatar MotoGP test 2016
Dovizioso, Qatar MotoGP test, March 2016
Smith, Qatar MotoGP test 2016
Smith, Qatar MotoGP test 2016
Marquez, Qatar MotoGP test, March 2016
Iannone, Qatar MotoGP test 2016
Iannone, Qatar MotoGP test 2016
Redding, Qatar MotoGP test 2016
Aoyama on Honda test bike, Qatar MotoGP test 2016

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Brown - Unregistered

October 07, 2008 7:03 AM

I am very happy to see Nakano’s good race as well as Nicky’s recent brilliant results with Michelin tires. I also hope that for Hopkins and Melandri, who haven’t shown their potentials so far.


October 07, 2008 3:04 PM

Poor old Shinya. He's doing his best to try and get that 3rd Kawasaki spot, but Aspar has already been on record as saying his sponsers demand a Spanish rider. He tried to coax Ellias into joining him, but failed, I believe Checa was also an option, but again, no joy. Bautista isn't moving up till after next season so who is he left with? Maybe Dani will be avaiable after getting the sack from Repsol for not winning the championship next season, but that's a year too late for Aspar right now. Maybe if Shinya showed up at the next race wearing a sombrero and carrying a straw donkey Aspars sponsers might think again about hiring him. He's certainly no worse than a lot of current riders.

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