Qatar : Konica Minolta Honda Day One
KONICA MINOLTA Honda made a steady start today at the first event of 2007 at the Losail circuit in Qatar.
With the new 800cc machines making their debut this year, new rules have also shaken things up, with only 14 front and
17 rear tyres allowed for each race weekend, meaning a more strategic use of tyres is required over the whole three-day period.
With conditions dry and a track temperature of 42 degrees, 29-year-old Shinya Nakano completed a total of 55 laps, recording a best time of 1'57.574. Nakano and the Team will now fine-tune the set-up of the Honda RC212V and find the perfect tyre for the race, as well as making the best use of the super-sticky Michelin qualifying tyres in the afternoon session.
Qualifying takes place tomorrow, while the race takes place on Saturday 10th March.
Gianluca Montiron Team Manager KONICA MINOLTA Honda
We are being cautious with our tyres thanks to these new rules. Today for us 10th position is so-so, but this is a first time for everybody and the track conditions will improve over the weekend, which is why Shinya did not push too hard today. In the morning Shinya was consistently 6th or 7th which is better, so we will maybe change some settings and prepare the Honda RC212V machine for tomorrow's much more important qualifying session. We are one second from the top and for us this gap is a little too big at the moment, but we will improve.
Shinya Nakano Rider, KONICA MINOLTA Honda (55 laps 1'57.
474 10th position)
I think I was riding OK this morning but we had a different tyre on this afternoon. I made some changes to the front and rear suspension to get the bike to turn quicker and this made a big improvement, but the tyre I used in the afternoon wasn't as good as the one I had in the morning, so I'm looking forward to using these settings on a better tyre. These new rules are the same for everybody, but we decided to keep some tyres for Friday's practice and qualifying. I think we need around half a second or more from tomorrow, so I will be trying my best to find that time. Track conditions have been better for a first day than I've seen them before, but they're sure to improve when more rubber gets laid down. Tomorrow I'll be looking at refining my race set-up which is vital and then using two qualifying tyres to find my place on the grid.
Giulio Bernardelle Technical Director, KONICA MINOLTA Honda
Today we worked on suspension a little and made some gearing adjustments to Shinya's machine. I think we have lost half second at the moment from our test here in February, but this is not such a big problem, I think we should be able to go for a 1'57.1 or a 57.2 consistently tomorrow. Conditions are similar to February's test here, but with only 17 rear tyres we have to conserve some of these for tomorrow as well as Saturday's race. We will have two qualifying tyres for the final session so I think tomorrow we will understand where we are in comparison with our rivals.
Konica Minolta Honda