We can do very well
The KONICA MINOLTA Honda Team and rider Shinya Nakano head straight from the heart of Europe to the Californian coast for round 11 of the MotoGP World Championship.
With just one week between the German GP and the United States Grand Prix at
Laguna Seca, near Monterey, it's been a rush to travel half-way across the globe to the only race on the MotoGP calendar which takes place on the American continent. This weekend's race will be the first time MotoGP fans in the USA have had a chance to see the new-breed of 800cc machines.
Laguna Seca is 2.24 miles long and like the Sachsenring is one of the few anti-clockwise circuits on the MotoGP calendar. The circuit undulates in a natural bowl in the Monterey hills and is dominated by one legendary corner the Corkscrew. The Corkscrew is a downhill left-right chicane with a blind entry, which is a stern test of rider skill, nerve and machine set-up.
Following the American MotoGP race, the championship takes a well-earned three-week break before the season resumes on 19th August at the Brno circuit in the Czech Republic.
Gianluca Montiron Team Manager KONICA MINOLTA Honda
For me it is very exciting going to a circuit like Laguna Seca: it is such a spectacular venue and the KONICA MINOLTA Team are always happy to return to the USA. America is a very important market in the world for MotoGP and I really think that the atmosphere over the weekend is really quite unique. From the technical point of view this is the first time the new 800cc MotoGP machines have been seen in the USA and the first time they have experienced the Laguna Seca circuit and for this reason I think that this means it could be a surprise for everybody.
Saying that, Laguna is similar in many ways to the Sachsenring: it goes uphill and downhill, doesn't have any long straights and goes anti-clockwise. The KONICA MINOLTA Honda Team want to do well here and take this final chance of taking some good points that will help us move forward in the championship before the summer break. After the break we are hopeful to receive continued support from our Technical Partners so we can be more competitive in the second part of the season.
Shinya Nakano Rider, KONICA MINOLTA Honda
I enjoy riding around Laguna, it is a very challenging track. After a number of races at Laguna I grew to really like the circuit layout: even if I look at my results there and see they are not so good! But the important thing is that I like the track very much, so I'm confident that if we find a good set-up there we can do very well. I remember last year the track had a new surface and it was so bumpy that everybody complained, so many of us couldn't ride it very well last year. With a year of use since being re-surfaced, I'm hoping that the bumps have gone!
Giulio Bernardelle Technical Director, KONICA MINOLTA Honda
We think that Laguna Seca will be a good track for our machine as there's not so many straights and that will help us. Also, as Shinya likes the layout of the circuit this helps too. The layout of the track is very similar in nature to the Sachsenring so the feeling for our rider should be similar. We will need to carry on making some small improvements to our technical package over the race weekend and if we do this then hopefully we will find a way to keep Shinya in the top ten and fighting closer to the top group of riders.
Konica Minolta Honda