De Puniet enjoys superb second place
23 September 2007 – An elated Kawasaki Racing Team are today celebrating Randy de Puniet's superb second place at the Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi, after one of the most thrilling races in recent MotoGP history. The 26-year-old Frenchman, starting from fourth on the grid, got off to a patchy start when he dropped back to 10th place as the pack launched itself off the line. He then had to contend with a couple of trips into the gravel, and a pit stop to change bikes, but it all failed to stop him from scoring his first ever premier class podium position.
What started as a wet race soon turned out to be a dry one and pit lane was a hive of frenzied activity as, one by one, riders came in to change bikes and slick tyres became the order of the day. De Puniet swapped machines at the end of lap seven and went from eighth position to 13th when he rejoined the track. From there, he made steady progress until finding himself behind eventual winner, Loris Capirossi, on lap 16, where he stayed until the end. It is a longed-for and hard-earned reward for him, his crew, the team and Bridgestone who are also celebrating: all today's top three riders, plus new world champion, Casey Stoner, are in partnership with the Japanese tyre manufacturer.
Speaking about his race de Puniet said: "I'm very happy because that was a really hard race. I chose to use a hard rain tyre but after a few laps it felt too hard and twice I ended up in the gravel, losing me a lot of time. I changed to the bike with the slicks and, when I exited the pits, I thought my race was over but I continued to push. When I saw on my pit board I was in second I was really surprised but to be on the podium in Japan for Kawasaki and Bridgestone is perfect. And I'm really grateful to my crew because they've worked so hard to help me get here."