“We have the potential to break into the top ten”
In the final qualifying session of the year the KONICA MINOLTA Honda Team made plenty of progress around the 2.764-mile Ricardo Tormo circuit.
With temperatures warmer than yesterday Team rider Shinya Nakano found
more grip from his Michelin-shod Honda RC212V and with 14 minutes to go in the qualifying hour was as high as 4th place on the grid.
As other riders improved, Shinya put his final qualifying tyre on and was setting a fast first and second sector time before a mistake at the end of the back-straight lost him valuable time. Despite this, the 30-year-old Japanese rider had cut almost two seconds from his Friday lap-time during the session to record a best of 1'32.730” to place him 13th on the grid for tomorrow's final race of the year.
Times were close at the top again, with less than one second covering the top ten grid positions.
Gianluca Montiron – Team Manager KONICA MINOLTA Honda
“Shinya used his final qualifying tyre very well in the first two sectors as he was quite near to the top of the timing sheets, but then in the final sector he lost the front and lost valuable time. For this reason he didn't reach his potential best lap time. This was a mistake but these things happen. I think in any case tomorrow the race will be exciting, even if at Valencia it's not always easy to overtake other riders. I think all the riders want to end the season in the best way possible, so it could be a very exciting race. I'm hoping that we can get a top eight finish to end the season with our best result of the year.”
Shinya Nakano – Rider, KONICA MINOLTA Honda (54 laps – 1' 32.730”)
“I had a good rhythm in the first and second sectors on that last qualifying lap, and pushed hard in that final third sector – I was giving 120%! Things felt really good but then after the back straight under braking I lost the front, which meant I lost around four or five tenths of a second. On the positive side of things, conditions were much better today with higher temperatures which have given us more grip so I could push much harder than yesterday. We didn't make many changes to the bike today as we found a good balance on Friday and we've also found a good tyre for the race. The start is vitally important here, as things can get busy in the first turn and for the whole of the first lap. I will have to be pushing hard right from the beginning of the race.”
Giulio Bernardelle – Technical Director, KONICA MINOLTA Honda
“Again today our potential was a little better than our grid result. With the last qualifying tyre Shinya made a little mistake at the end of T2 and I think without that we could have perhaps been on the second row or at least stayed in the top ten. Our race setting situation is better than yesterday and I think with the temperature and ground conditions improving we have the potential to break into the top ten tomorrow. We have finalised the tyre choice for the race so we can enjoy a normal warm-up session and be ready for the race.”
Konica Minolta Honda