Shanghai : Konica Minolta Honda - Preview
KONICA MINOLTA Honda heads east to the Chinese Grand Prix this weekend hopeful of a turnaround in fortunes that will see them once again fight at the front of the pack in the MotoGP class.
Shinya Nakano is looking forward
to the race at the Shanghai circuit, as the 29-year-old Japanese rider enjoyed last year's event, qualifying in fourth position. He's hoping that his liking of the circuit layout will help him improve still further on his new 800cc Honda RC212V.
The track itself is situated about 20 miles outside Shanghai and was opened in 2004. It is 3.28 miles in length, features 14 corners and the longest straight on the MotoGP calendar. Hermann Tilke designed the circuit. He also designed the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia, Istanbul Park in Turkey and the Bahrain International Circuit. Practice begins on Friday.
Gianluca Montiron – Team Manager KONICA MINOLTA Honda
“Obviously we are not satisfied by our overall position at the last race. We know there are many factors, which contributed to this but now our job is to analyse these and try to improve our overall machinery package in conjunction with our technical partners HRC and Michelin. I think in China we will again see the new tyre regulations have a big impact on the qualifying sessions and the race as a whole, as will the temperatures and conditions. Everyone in the KONICA MINOLTA Honda Team will work hard to ensure that we will be fighting up with the lead riders as soon as possible.”
Shinya Nakano – Rider, KONICA MINOLTA Honda
“I really quite like the Shanghai track although it has some fast sections where top-speed is important – especially the main straight – so I'm hoping we won't be too far behind the other teams and machines for top-speed. Whatever happens the Team and I will be working hard to find a good setting for the new 800cc Honda RC212V from the first session and try to improve things further as the weekend goes on. My aim as ever is the reach the chequered flag and get some good points.
Giulio Bernardelle – Technical Director, KONICA MINOLTA Honda
“Shanghai is quite fast but we are pleased that Shinya likes the layout very much and last year he had a good feeling with the circuit so from this point of view the situation could be good for us. If the weather is bad for the race, we're not so worried as we had a very good test after the Jerez race in wet conditions, so it could be positive for us if it rains. After the race in Turkey we had a meeting with HRC technicians about our situation with race settings and the lack of feeling that Shinya has. At least our problem is clear, even if we still have to work hard because it seems that the solution requests modifications beyond the normal range available for the bike setting. It seems as if Shinya is at the limit for handling and if he pushes any harder he will crash and not actually improve his time. Probably we'd need something new. In China we will do our best to get the RC212V more to Shinya's liking. I think we will see once more the new tyre regulations having an affect on practice and race times and the temperatures could change things even more. The problem Michelin has is that they would like to take a wider-range of slick tires per rider to the races, but thanks to the regulations it is not possible, so we have to take some risks when choosing tyres. This means the racing will be exciting again.”
Konica Minolta Honda