Motegi MotoGP reaction: Randy de Puniet celebrates debut podium
The French rider struggled early on in full wet conditions having chosen a hard compound Bridgestone rear rain tyre, and twice he ran off into the gravel to threaten his hopes of even claiming a top six finish.
With nothing to lose, Randy de Puniet decided to pit for his spare ZX-RR with the track drying and by lap 16 he found himself in second place. But by that time Ducati’s Loris Capirossi was already long gone into the distance.
It was still a great moment for Randy de Puniet, who has quit Kawasaki to join the LCR Honda squad in 2008, as he claimed his debut podium in front of all of Kawasaki’s senior Japanese management.
He said: “For me it’s a very good day because in the beginning I used a harder compound on the rain tyre, but it was not a good choice and I twice I ran off the track.
“After that I was very nervous so I decided to come to the pits to change the bike. When I saw my pit board I was 14th and I was not confident during the first three laps on slicks because I had a lot of slides.
“It was difficult in the beginning because some parts of the track were dry and some parts wet. In the beginning only one line was possible to ride. And that’s why it was very difficult because immediately when you went off line you had a big slide and it was very dangerous.
“It was not an easy race. But after that I could make a very good lap time and after about lap nine saw on my pit board I was second. I was surprised but thought ‘OK, lets continue to push.’
“I’m very happy because to be on the podium here for Bridgestone and Kawasaki is perfect because it was not an easy race.”