At Le Mans
KONICA MINOLTA Honda have made steady progress in today's practice sessions for Sunday's race at the legendary Bugatti circuit at Le Mans.
Team rider Shinya Nakano spent most of today trying two new front tyres for the race to help improve feedback from
the front-end of his Honda RC212V. The 29-year-old Japanese rider was hoping to record a fast lap time at the end of today's afternoon session, but was caught out by the weather when rain began to fall with just ten minutes of the session remaining.
Both Shinya and the Team are now looking forward to tomorrow's sessions where they hope they can show the improvements in the tyres on the timesheets.
Gianluca Montiron Team Manager KONICA MINOLTA Honda
Today the weather conditions were so-so and we tested some new tyres and spent both practice sessions trying to improve the balance of the Honda RC212V. Because of the weather we have to work a little bit more tomorrow and test the different tyres to see what is the best one for Shinya. In both sessions the weather has slowed us down a little, and this afternoon it rained in the last ten minutes of the practice session so for this reason Shinya did not try to push to make a fast lap time. This means it's important for us tomorrow to learn more about these new tyres and get a good consistent rhythm and race pace. We're grateful to Michelin as they're supporting us as much as possible. It's good to see the top three riders all on Hondas I think things will be better for us here, too.
Shinya Nakano Rider, KONICA MINOLTA Honda (50 laps 1' 36.855)
The new front tyres seem better, as the contact feeling from the front has improved, which is what I'm looking for. The entry to the corner is better, but I still have same problem with the bike not turning quickly enough and with enough grip. We have some ideas on how to improve this, so we will try some different front and rear suspension settings tomorrow morning.
We are a little disappointed as the last ten minutes were going to be important this afternoon and I had fresh tyres on, but we couldn't try them. I'm hopeful of tomorrow as the other Hondas are going well, so if we can find a good set up I am positive for a good grid position.
Giulio Bernardelle Technical Director, KONICA MINOLTA Honda
We didn't have two whole practice sessions thanks to the weather this morning and losing the last ten minutes of the afternoon session, but both new front tyres from Michelin seem to work a little better so tomorrow we're hopeful. Shinya seems to be having some problems in the middle of the circuit where there's a combination of corners after the main straight. We think he's losing a little speed in the middle of the corners there, so tonight we will look at the data and try to see if we can improve things for him a little in this area. A good point is that he's feeling more positive with the front tyre. Michelin have tried to give the front a different contact patch, combined with a change in the rigidity of the tyre sidewall. It's good that they are helping us so much here and it's also positive to see three Hondas in the top five. We will work hard tomorrow to be further up the grid for Sunday's race.
Konica Minolta Honda