“We need to make a good start”
KONICA MINOLTA Honda rider Shinya Nakano shaved almost a second-and-a-half from his Friday lap-time in today's qualifying session for the Japanese Grand Prix.
The former 250cc GP championship runner-up improved the set-up of his Honda
RC212V around the 2.98mile Twin Ring Motegi circuit, but will make some further changes to the front-end of his 800cc machine in time for tomorrow's 24-lap race.
Weather conditions continue to be hot, although it is expected to be a little cooler in time for tomorrow's race.
Gianluca Montiron – Team Manager KONICA MINOLTA Honda
“I thing that today was a very exciting qualifying session and I'm happy that Honda show they have the power here at their home track with Dani Pedrosa on pole position and Nicky Hayden in third. It's also good to see Michelin take the top three positions. Shinya was quite good today and he made some progress but we needed to make a bigger step forward to move up the grid for the race. I think he had a lot of pressure today, as he wanted to have a good qualifying session at this, his home grand prix. I think perhaps he didn't use his last qualifying tyre as well as he could have. He was behind Valentino Rossi and had posted the fastest first sector of the lap, he lost a little time in T2 and then made a mistake in T3 and lost some more time. Tomorrow will be a different story and I think we have to use warm-up to refine the settings that Shinya can use for the race, as we search for improved consistency.”
Shinya Nakano – Rider, KONICA MINOLTA Honda (47 laps – 1' 47.295”)
“It's been tough today as the lap time around here has improved a lot! On the qualifying tyre I was making a good lap time in T1 and T2 sectors, but in T3 and the downhill T4 sector we've been having problems with braking stability. This makes it hard to enter the corner at high-speed and affects your overall lap-time. Tomorrow we will change some settings to the front of the bike to improve our braking performance.
We need to make a good start as at Motegi it's very hard to pass around here.”
Giulio Bernardelle – Technical Director, KONICA MINOLTA Honda
“This morning we saw that some Michelin riders were able to run consistent 1'47s lap-times, that was a surprise for us as we didn't expect to see these kind of lap times! We will see tomorrow if they were using a soft tyre or if they really can do it in the race. We can run in the 48s consistently and I think this is our potential for the race. We've improved a lot these last two days, but Shinya is still not confident under braking after the main straight. In T4 alone we're losing a few tenths on both qualifying and race tyres. We will test some adjustments tomorrow on the front forks to improve this and hope to find a solution. Braking stability is so important here, as in that sector after hitting the brakes it's the slow-speed sector of the track, where it's important to enter this section as fast as you can to get a good lap time. That part of the track is also a good point to overtake, so making this improvement in warm-up tomorrow could be key to our having a good race here.”
Konica Minolta Honda