“I'm happy with that !”
Shinya Nakano and his KONICA MINOLTA Honda Team have put their Honda RC212V into eighth position for tomorrow's 27-lap Australian Grand Prix.
With changeable weather conditions so far dominating proceedings at the Phillip Island circuit, today's
qualifying hour was mercifully the only MotoGP session to be completely dry. Shinya took advantage of set-up improvements to his 800cc Honda machine to record a time more than three seconds quicker than his Friday lap-time to secure his third row grid slot.
The Team will now keep an eye on the weather situation once more in tomorrow's morning warm-up before making their final choice on race tyres.
Gianluca Montiron – Team Manager KONICA MINOLTA Honda
“Today was one of the best qualifying sessions of the season for us. When you look at the times, you will see that the gap between pole position and us is quite consistent to what we've seen before, but eighth place is an improvement from many of our previous grid positions. I still think that tomorrow will be a difficult race as I think we haven't yet got a good race rhythm, so while Shinya is able to push for one lap in qualifying we need to improve things further so he can stay with the second group and have a consistent race – that's how you get a good race result. Shinya's qualifying laps on soft rubber today were good, despite having some other traffic in the way. Let's hope for a good start and consistent weather for tomorrow's race!”
Shinya Nakano – Rider, KONICA MINOLTA Honda (47 laps – 1' 30.
“I am happy with that! Once more it's very close, but it's also very good to be inside the top ten in qualifying again! With the cold conditions it is difficult to choose the tyres here, because if you go for a harder compound it is very difficult to get them warm. We've not decided on the race tyre yet – we shall see what the weather has in store for us tomorrow – but our suspension settings have improved a lot. With our qualifying tyres things improved each time and we could cut a lot from our Friday lap-time. We suffered a little with traffic with one of the qualifiers, but this is what happens. Tomorrow I would prefer dry or wet conditions – not in between or us changing bikes, as that makes the race a gamble. I'm ready for both conditions and will hope for a good start.”
Giulio Bernardelle – Technical Director, KONICA MINOLTA Honda
“We had a good day today particularly with the qualifying tyre. For the first time this weekend we had a full dry practice so we were able to test some different setting and tyres. Shinya had a little trouble with traffic when two riders were in the way, so maybe we had the potential for a second-row start position. The important thing is that our setting has improved but we have to think carefully for our race tyre choice as today conditions were still cold, but warmer than yesterday at a little over 25 degrees. If it gets warmer tomorrow, we may have to look at our tyre choices again. We improved the balance of the machine for Shinya today to help him in the first part of the corner and also on the engine braking control which has helped Shinya improve his time.”
Konica Minolta Honda