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Nakano make steady improvements at Le Mans
“I don't give up”
KONICA MINOLTA Honda made solid improvements today during qualifying for tomorrow's French Grand Prix. Shinya Nakano was again evaluating new Michelin front tyres following yesterday's rain-hit sessions.

The 29-year-old Japanese rider tried to make
the most of the qualifying hour and managed to shave a further two seconds off his lap time, moving up to 2nd place with 22 minutes to go. Unfortunately during his second stint on qualifying tyres he made a mistake and couldn't improve further while other riders moved ahead.

There's a chance that tomorrow's 28-lap race at the 2.6mile Bugatti circuit could be hit by rain.

Gianluca Montiron – Team Manager KONICA MINOLTA Honda
“It's a shame that Shinya made a mistake during his last quick lap, as he was fastest in the first sector before the error. Maybe he pushed too much, but I'm satisfied that we can see our rider has the potential to be nearer the top, but we have to work harder and put more pressure on each other to get results. This means the Team and rider need to focus more on making improvements during all the practice sessions so we're further up the grid for the race. We have faith in our technical package and it's important that every time we go out on track we push hard and give 100%. Tomorrow is the race and I'm sure that Shinya will get to show to us that he's got the ability to run nearer the front.”

Shinya Nakano – Rider, KONICA MINOLTA Honda (53 laps – 1' 34.834”)
“This morning we had a good session and did a fast run and then we made some changes to the clutch which helped reduce chatter from the front a little. The new Michelin front tyres are helping to give me more confidence in the front-end of the bike, which is an improvement. Our tyre choice for the race is decided, but in the morning tomorrow we will make some changes to the front suspension to see if we can reduce chatter still further.
I don't give up – the start here will be vitally important, as will who gets through the first chicane.”

Giulio Bernardelle – Technical Director, KONICA MINOLTA Honda
“The situation was better for us this morning and afternoon compared to yesterday as Shinya felt better with race tyres and in the afternoon session we found what we hope will be a good compromise for tomorrow's race. We will have to reduce the chatter we do seem to encounter after a few laps. With qualifying tyres it isn't so bad, but our last attempt on a lap time with the qualifying tyres was affected by a mistake when the bike had a slide. Our position is 14th but our situation is better than in China thanks to the fact that the contact feeling with the front is coming better and Shinya is able to ride much more like he prefers. This afternoon we did some work on the rear suspension and clutch to help reduce the chatter a little. We may now test something different on the front suspension tomorrow morning to see if that helps.”
Konica Minolta Honda


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