Istanbul : Konica Minolta Honda - Preview
KONICA MINOLTA Honda are heading into the unknown this week as the MotoGP circus heads towards Turkey and the Istanbul Park race circuit.
With the new-for-2007 800cc MotoGP bikes never having been tested around the circuit,
the pressure is on for KONICA MINOLTA Honda and their tyre partners Michelin to hit the ground running in time for the first practice session on Friday morning.
With two 10th places so far, the pressure is now on both Team and rider to improve and close the gap on the title leaders. The Team's rider 29-year-old Japanese star Shinya Nakano enjoyed a fruitful wet-weather test at Jerez after the race and is confident that his feeling with the new machine on the new Michelin rubber should begin to show improved results.
Gianluca Montiron Team Manager KONICA MINOLTA Honda
To the outside World it may seem like there's been a month break, but during this time the Team and I have been very busy! I've been involved in the planning of our promotional activities that we'll do until the summer. We do this to create a better collaboration with our Partners offering them additional services compared to any other team. Now our organization is able to offer a good range of services, of which many of our Partners take advantage. With this work complete, now I can focus my attention to our racing results. I have high expectations from this part of the season, because I'm sure we can now expect a step forward in Shinya's performance. I'm confident that at Jerez our rider began to understand better the characteristics of the new Honda RC212V. I also think that riding in the wet conditions at the Jerez test helped him to acquire more confidence with the machine and Michelin tyres.
So we'll go to Turkey to enter in the top eight positions and gradually race-by-race I hope we can stay in the top group. From the Turkish GP we have to come up with a Team strategy, along with Michelin, to select the best tyres for a circuit where nobody has tested before with this new machine. This will make things very interesting! Obviously we'll do our best as always to give the maximum support to Shinya.
Shinya Nakano Rider, KONICA MINOLTA Honda
Our test after Jerez was very good for us as we managed to get the feeling from the front of the bike that I need for my riding style. This was in the wet, but this is the same feeling we're chasing for the bike in the dry conditions too. This data is important, as once I have found a setting to give me the same feeling in the dry, then I know we will go much faster. I'm hoping we can find this at Turkey as I want to push hard and get even better results for both the Team and myself.
Giulio Bernardelle Technical Director, KONICA MINOLTA Honda
This will be the first race of the season at a circuit where nobody has tested during the winter season. This fact and the situation we have with the new tyre rules has given us a lot of work to decide the tyre list for the race. We've exchanged a lot of information with the Michelin technicians and we have decided to bring a wide range of rubber to Istanbul. The biggest question mark concerns the weather conditions. Last year, the weather was not so good; temperatures were low and the race was held in wet conditions. We stayed on Monday to test after the race but again weather conditions weren't perfect. This year the situation should be completely different and we expect to have much higher temperatures. For this reason it was not so easy to decide the medium point on the tyre compound scale. Istanbul Park is a good technical track and we do not think we will have any particular problems to find the best set up for our Honda RC212V. We'll proceed with our work to try to solve the problems that Shinya has with the dry setting. For this reason we plan to test something different for the front suspension in Turkey.
Konica Minolta Honda