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


Kawasaki rider Shinya Nakano claimed a top ten starting spot for the USGP in
today's highly competitive qualifying session at a sun-drenched Laguna Seca.

Nakano will start from tenth on the fourth row of the grid, after posting a time
that was just 0.3s off the second row.

Nakano's Ninja ZX-RR teammate, Alex Hofmann, qualified 15th to complete the
fifth row of the grid.

Both Kawasaki riders are making their first racing appearances at Laguna Seca
and are continuing to learn the finer points of this compact, rollercoaster

The USGP will be raced over 32 laps, the longest of the season in terms of laps,
and is promising to be a tough examination of physical and mental endurance for
riders. Race distance tyre performance will also be a key factor.

Times tumbled dramatically in qualifying, with Nakano slicing more than 1.6s
from his best time from Friday's free practice sessions.

Following set-up changes to spring balance, both riders reported improved rear
grip today as they evaluated a new construction rear Bridgestone tyre. Both
riders will race with this tyre tomorrow.

Qualifying was run in windy and dusty, but warm track conditions.

With 22 minutes of the one hour session remaining, Nakano claimed the third
fastest time for a provisional front row start before continuing his set-up work
for tomorrow's race.

Nakano was consistently in the top ten during the session and only slipped to
tenth in the final minutes.

Meanwhile Hofmann was disappointed with the outcome of the session, with his
final fast lap on a soft qualifying tyre spoilt by traffic.

This race marks the return of the USGP to Laguna Seca and the World Championship
after an absence of 11 years.

Shinya Nakano: #56 - Tenth - 1'23.799

"I was aiming for the top three rows and missed by one position but I'm
confident, I learnt a lot this afternoon during my fast laps on qualifying
tyres. I have found a better line up the hill and on the approach to the
Corkscrew, which I will use in the race. I expected a little more on this short
track, but tenth is not so bad on my first visit here, and I'm not so far from
the front group. The wind was a problem for me today, especially in the fast
left corners. Our race package is consistent, but 32 laps here is going to be
very, very tough."

Alex Hofmann: #66 - Fifteenth - 1'24.480

"I'm not happy; 15th is not where I wanted to be. I had a good lap going behind
Valentino late in the session when a couple of guys got between us, just
cruising, and that screwed my lap. I'm more comfortable than yesterday, and we
have a better rear end set-up, but for sure it has not been love at first sight
between me and this track, especially the Corkscrew and downhill section. The
American riders can do it blindfolded, but I will continue the learning process
in the morning warm-up."

Ichiro Yoda: Technical Director

"Overall a good performance, the gap to the top group was closer than yesterday.
Tomorrow we will race a new construction Bridgestone tyre and from our tests
today we can see that this development is in the right direction. The
Bridgestone engineers are confident of our endurance potential over the race

Harald Eckl: Team Manager

"For 32 laps around Laguna Seca this is going to be a tyre race, and very tough
in these conditions. It's difficult to pass, so both Shinya and Alex will need
good starts and a strong effort in the opening sequence of corners. Our lap
times are very close to the top group ahead and Shinya is ahead of riders like
Gibernau and Melandri. I'm very happy with the debut efforts of Shinya and Alex
at Laguna Seca, now it's wait and see for the race."


 1. Nicky Hayden (USA) Repsol Honda             1'22.670
 2. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Gauloises Yamaha Team   +0.354
 3. Alex Barros (BRA) Camel Honda                 +0.642
 4. Troy Bayliss (AUS) Camel Honda                +0.688
 5. Colin Edwards (USA) Gauloises Yamaha Team     +0.799
 6. John Hopkins (USA) Team Suzuki MotoGP         +0.823
 7. Max Biaggi (ITA) Repsol Honda                 +0.926
 8. Carlos Checa (SPA) Ducati Marlboro Team       +0.927
 9. Makoto Tamada (JPN) Konica Minolta Honda      +1.080
10. Shinya Nakano (JPN) Kawasaki Racing Team      +1.129
11. Marco Melandri (ITA) Movistar Honda MotoGP    +1.235
12. Kenny Roberts (USA) Team Suzuki MotoGP        +1.341
15. Alex Hofmann (GER) Kawasaki Racing Team       +1.810