Qatar : Konica Minolta Honda – Day Two
A fall for KONICA MINOLTA Honda rider Shinya Nakano hampered the Team's effort to find a good grid position during today's final qualifying session for the opening race of the 2007 season.
With just twenty-one minutes to go
in the final timed session before tomorrow's race, Shinya suffered a dramatic high-speed crash while in fourth-gear at turn 13. Watching from the pits, his KONICA MINOLTA Honda Team immediately prepared Nakano's second Honda RC212V while the 29-year-old Japanese rider got a lift back to the pits to resume qualifying.
With the new tyre rules in place, each Michelin and Bridgestone-shod rider had only two super-sticky qualifying tyres available to him and despite moving back up to seventh position with just minutes to go, a series of record-breaking laps from the front-runners saw Shinya demoted to 11th place overall.
Gianluca Montiron – Team Manager KONICA MINOLTA Honda
“Shinya-san's situation was not so bad and then not so good! Just before the crash we sent him out on a new rear tyre and he was making a good lap time, improving again with a personal best lap when maybe he pushed too much and lost the front at high speed. This compromised the rest of the session for us. Psychologically it's difficult to go straight back out on a bike and go fast, especially on a qualifying tyre and on the second bike so I think perhaps we couldn't use 100% of our potential today. Tomorrow is another day so we have to work in warm-up to refine our set-up and choose a race tyre for tomorrow. We could have wished for better today, but it's a long championship.
Shinya Nakano – Rider, KONICA MINOLTA Honda (46 laps – 1'56.306” – 11th position)
“Despite the crash I feel OK and I'm not hurt. It was a fast crash on one of the right-hand corners, so I was lucky. Compared to my crash down the Mugello straight a few years ago, it was a slow one! I was trying to improve my lap time and was adjusting my riding style a little but perhaps it was the wrong thing to do as I lost the front. I'm obviously a little disappointed, as I wanted something better from today for the Team and myself. After the crash I could improve my lap time with a qualifying tyre, but now we have to look forward to tomorrow and use morning warm-up to choose a tyre for the race.”
Giulio Bernardelle – Technical Director, KONICA MINOLTA Honda
“We were expecting much more from today, so we are a little disappointed, but I think we are not yet seeing the full potential of our rider and the bike. We have some small details to solve on our machine settings and we also need to finalise our choice for rear tyre tomorrow morning as the crash has set us back a little. After the morning session we discussed about trying to increase our corner entry speed and on turn 13 Shinya was testing this theory. The telemetry showed a small mistake with a gear-shift so maybe this caused the crash. The second bike that Shinya had to use isn't his favourite and the rear settings were a little different so again our potential wasn't realised. For tomorrow the set-up of our machine is 95% there. We just need to make some small adjustments on rear suspension and then we will test a couple of tyres to find our best combination for the race.”
Konica Minolta Honda