Laguna Seca : Konica Minolta Honda – Day One
Shinya Nakano and his KONICA MINOLTA Honda made a cautious start in today's first practice session for Sunday's US MotoGP race.
Lower temperatures than expected along with windy conditions and alternating grip levels meant
that the 29-year-old Japanese rider is looking for improvements in time for tomorrow's hour-long qualifying session around the challenging 2.24 mile-long Laguna Seca circuit.
Tomorrow the KONICA MINOLTA Honda Team will make further changes to the suspension and gearing set-up of their Honda RC212V MotoGP machine to give Shinya the best technical package so the former 250cc World Championship runner-up can be further up the order in time for Sunday's race.
Gianluca Montiron – Team Manager KONICA MINOLTA Honda
“Today's result is not so impressive, but we will improve tomorrow. During the first practice session our situation was better, but this afternoon as others improved we weren't able to move forward as much. At the moment we have the standard Honda machine while our competitors move forward and receive something new. We were perhaps a little too conservative with our approach in practice today, so the Team as a whole has to help Shinya get his rhythm and achieve his best lap time a little more quickly. The temperature is the same for everybody so this is something we simply have to deal with. I think tomorrow it's not just about the qualifying session but also to give Shinya the best machine possible for the race: this is the most important point. Tomorrow we will dedicate at least last half an hour to help Shinya make the best lap time and today we know that some of our competitors tested some soft tyres, hence they made a better lap time than us.”
Shinya Nakano – Rider, KONICA MINOLTA Honda (60 laps – 1' 24.850”)
“I'm so disappointed with the overall result today but not so worried when I think that today is essentially set-up day and I think perhaps in the afternoon we went in a bit of a wrong direction with settings so we couldn't improve so much. The track this year is a bit better that last year and a little less bumpy, but conditions are still so-so: it's quite windy and the track is dirty in places so grip levels are different. Of course, it's the same for us all. I think tomorrow should still be OK. We need to find some gearbox settings tomorrow to improve things, so that is one of the things we shall be working on.”
Giulio Bernardelle – Technical Director, KONICA MINOLTA Honda
“The overall temperatures are much colder than expected.
The sun is shining but there's a lot of wind, which means the overall temperature is so low, much lower than Germany and much lower than we experienced here last year. We were expecting to have higher temperatures and some sectors seem to have different track temperatures. All our competitors have to deal with the same problem, but basically we have to find more grip on both the front and rear of the bike. We are playing with gearbox settings as well at the moment to find the optimum for this track. This afternoon we changed 2nd and 3rd gears so we will discuss with Shinya what is the best solution.”
Konica Minolta Honda