Mugello MotoGP: Randy de Puniet bemoans double mistake

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Randy de Puniet reckons an early and late mistake cost him the chance of a fourth place finish in yesterday’s Italian MotoGP race.

The French rider lost out in a titanic battle with 2007 world champion Casey Stoner and home favourite Marco Melandri and had to settle for sixth position in the 23-lap encounter.

But the LCR Honda rider was left to contemplate what might have been after he paid for a terrible start off the second row of the grid.

The former factory Kawasaki rider plummeted from sixth to 12th at one stage on the opening lap before off a series of impressive overtakes to end the lap in eighth.
He moved into sixth place on lap seven and then engaged in a battle with Stoner and Melandri for the rest of the race.

It looked like de Puniet would pull off a morale-boosting fourth as he led the pair comingn onto the start/finish straight to commence the final lap.

But de Puniet suffered a big tank-slapper on the exit and let Stoner and Melandri through. He was unable to retaliate but he equalled his best result of the season and remains leading satellite team rider in the overall standings.

He told MCN: “I lost my chance to get fourth place after the first lap because I was only 12th after T3. I passed four riders and got to eighth but I’d lost the group with (Andrea) Dovizioso and (Jorge) Lorenzo. I know I could have followed them for five or six laps even if I’d not been able to go with them for the whole race. I pushed a lot to catch the group and we had a great battle.

"I couldn’t get away seven laps from the end when I was at the front and I just decided to wait until the last two laps. I was actually leading at the last corner on the penultimate corner but I had a big slide on the rear coming onto the straight.  It was impossible for me to keep the throttle fully open on the straight because the bike had a massive headshake and Melandri and Stoner passed me.

"I tried to pass them back but I couldn’t. I think fourth was possible if I hadn’t lost three or four seconds easily on the first lap.”

 

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt