Press Release
(2005 FIM Road Racing World Championship)
Kawasaki Racing Team


Kawasaki factory rider Shinya Nakano will live out a boyhood dream when he races
in the US Grand Prix in Laguna Seca this weekend.

Nakano's attraction to this northern California location was influenced by his
racing hero Kevin Schwantz, the original sultan of slide who won the 1993 World

Television coverage of Schwantz racing at Laguna in the late 1980's helped
inspire Nakano's own desires to be a GP racer. No surprise then that the stylish
Japanese ace says he is excited by the history-making return of the USGP to the
MotoGP calendar.

Equally as enthusiastic about the California visit is German rider Alex Hofmann,
who shares racing duties aboard the Ninja ZX-RR in Kawasaki's factory MotoGP

Hofmann, a keen motocross and supermotard rider, is a regular off-season visitor
to California. And the 25-year-old Kawasaki pilot is now an officially certified
'body-flyer' having gained his license last week in a special test at a facility
near his Swiss home in Zurich.

Body-flying is a high-speed sport using an indoor, vertical wind tunnel with
turbine generated wind speeds of 180 kph.

Both Nakano and Hofmann arrived in America early to do some local training and
recover from jet lag, and to soak up the ambience and tourism opportunities of
the Monterey Peninsula.

It is 11 years since the US Grand Prix was staged at Laguna Seca, and the return
of the race to the North American market is a significant milestone in the
increasing global expansion and popularity of the MotoGP championship.

The roller-coaster style track has undergone a multimillion dollar safety
upgrade to bring it up to international standards, with the infamous Corkscrew
section and a sequence of fast, downhill curves highlighting the compact layout.

In terms of number of laps, 32 in total, the US Grand Prix is the longest race
of the season although the lap length, 3.58 km (2.22 miles) is actually the
shortest on the 17 race MotoGP calendar.

On this whirlwind 11-turn course, with dramatic gradient changes and fast
downhill curves, the US Grand Prix promises to be a brutal test of bravery and
rider fitness, both mental and physical.

Nakano and Hofmann have used the Playstation racing game to gain early track
knowledge, but will check the layout on scooters in advance of Friday morning's
extended, two-hour, free practice session.

The US Grand Prix is the eighth race of the MotoGP World Championship, with
organisers already confirming that the event is a sell-out, with 60,000 tickets
sold in advance.

Shinya Nakano #56

"It is like a dream come true for me to be racing at Laguna Seca. When I was a
kid in Japan I remember watching Kevin Schwantz and Wayne Rainey on television,
racing GPs here. Kevin is my racing hero, he was aggressive and fast, I really
admire the way he raced. But I also now understand how much of a fighter and how
good Wayne Rainey was as a rider. I checked the track on Playstation, although
it was the Gran Turismo car racing game. It looks very technical and tough, and
32 laps will not be easy. I will do a lot of scooter laps before practice, but I
think the Kawasaki has some potential here, we have strong acceleration with the
latest motor and good handling. With 11 corners maybe top speed is not so
important, but I will understand more when I ride the ZX-RR on Friday."

Alex Hofmann #66

"I've done a thousand laps on Playstation to get ready for Laguna Seca and I
can't wait, I'm ready for the challenge on a tough track. And now I've got my
body flying license I'm ready for Batman and Superman also! Body-flying allows
you to feel totally free, it's a lot of fun. The track looks tricky and hard
work, but also a lot of fun with not so many full throttle sections, which could
benefit our latest ZX-RR engine set-up. I arrived in the US early to adapt to
the time zone and take in the ambience of California, and do some training. I'm
looking for a change of luck here, my recent results have been out of my
control. Now I just hope I can go faster in real life at Laguna Seca than I did
on the Playstation!"