Laguna Seca : Konica Minolta Honda Day Two
Shinya Nakano took his KONICA MINOLTA Honda to a third row grid slot during today's qualifying session for tomorrow's US MotoGP race.
The 29-year-old Japanese rider pushed hard on his qualifying tyres and managed to take
the best part of two seconds off his Friday time to get ninth overall, making him the fastest Honda behind the two factory Repsol machines.
It was yet another close qualifying session with only one second separating Casey Stoner on pole to Carlos Checa in 15th. Tomorrow Shinya is hoping for a good start so that he can get a solid top-ten result before the MotoGP championship indulges in a three-week summer break.
Gianluca Montiron Team Manager KONICA MINOLTA Honda
Shinya put in an impressive last lap but we know that he is able to ride this circuit as he enjoys the layout a lot. To be in front of the other satellite Honda riders is important for us, so today Shinya did a good job. Tomorrow Shinya needs to confirm his speed in the race. The temperature is expected to be higher than now and I think this will be the key point tomorrow. Consistency will be everything tomorrow in the race, so it's good to start near the front and we hope to make as good a start as at the Sachsenring. After that, we simply need some good luck to get the good result. We want to be fighting with the top group so we shall see what our pace is.
Shinya Nakano Rider, KONICA MINOLTA Honda (66 laps 1' 23.006)
I'm happy with ninth as it wasn't a bad laptime overall. This morning we were changing the settings to find a good solution, but then in the afternoon the conditions were windy and we also saw more sand on circuit.
This made it difficult to enter the corners as I wanted, so I lost the front a couple of times but I managed to get a good timed attack lap in, which is what we wanted! I was lucky with the traffic as this circuit is pretty narrow, so if you see someone you have to slow down. I'm hoping for a good start tomorrow to pass a few riders on the first lap.
Giulio Bernardelle Technical Director, KONICA MINOLTA Honda
It is good to see that our situation is so much better today. This morning because of our modifications it was easy for Shinya to push, so he quickly lost 1.1 seconds on a race tyre compared to his previous laptime. Today the wind was critical and this made it not so easy to control the machine, but it was the same for everyone. Today we finalised the choice for Shinya with the race tyre and gearbox and suspension settings. We seemed to find the increased mechanical grip that we were looking for, which helped us a lot. Shinya did very well in the timed attack laps with the softer tyres on, so from ninth we're hoping for a good start. This is the worst track possibly for the whole year for overtaking as there's really no main-straight so the start is so important. We're expecting our race tyre choice to be good for durability during the race.
Konica Minolta Honda