Randy de Puniet is a rider who has seen the ups and downs of racing in his considerably long career. He came up through the ranks at the national levels winning the championships in the 125cc series.
De Puniet became the French 125cc champion in 1998 and that allowed him his first race at the international 125cc class. He just rode in one race in 1998 and that acted as a feeler for the young man from Maisons-Laffitte. His first race at the international 125cc class was with Honda and the man shifted to Aprilla in 1999, for his first full season in racing. In 1999 and 2000, Randy had two ‘okay’ seasons at Aprilla where he concentrated more on getting accustomed to racing at the highest level in the 125cc category.
He ended 1999 in 18th place and 2000 in 17th whereas his points tally did take a much needed jump as he went from just 26 points in ‘99 to 50 in 2000 although the points jump didn’t really make much of a difference in overall standings between the two seasons.
Aprilla moved Randy up to the 250cc class in 2001. After a year spent mostly in range finding, Randy ended 2001 with just 50 points and a 13th place standing. Things began to improve rather quickly for the Frenchman as he almost doubled his points’ tally in 2002. With 119 points to his name, Randy finished 2002 in 9th place. He also got to his first podium finish in 2002 and then experienced the moment one more time in the same year. His performance earned him a spot on the factory team for Aprilla, for 2003.
Once there, Randy was on a different plane altogether. He started notching up podium finishes and then, race wins. He took his first of three wins at Catalunya and in a season that saw him stand on the podium 9 times, he finished 4th overall.
Things just became better in 2004 as he went from strength to strength. He notched up 8 podium places on his way to 3rd place, his best ever finish. Although he had just one victory, he got a lot more points (214) and was a lot more competitive as well.
In 2005, he had his last season with Aprilla and his performance did take a small dip. He did manage a win but with just 3 podium finishes, he only managed an overall 8th place in the season. Despite being part of a team run by former world champion Jorge Martinez Aspar, the Frenchman was unable to make any improvements to his run from the last season.
He got his big MotoGP opportunity in 2006. He joined the Kawasaki factory team and in his first season, failed to make any big waves. He just managed a modest sixteenth place finish with 37 points in his kitty. In 2007, he had a better season as he got accustomed to the machine and the category. He finished on his maiden MotoGP podium and with 108 points, ended the season in 11th place.