Jerez : Konica Minolta Honda - Preview
KONICA MINOLTA Honda are confident of better things at this weekend's race at Jerez in southern Spain.
At the first round in Qatar ten days ago, a steady start saw Shinya Nakano come home in 10th place, while other championship
challengers crashed around him.
Finishing the race was the aim for the former 250GP runner-up, but as the season progresses, both Team and rider are confident of improved results on the new-for-2007 800cc V4.
The KONICA MINOLTA Honda Team have been scrutinizing the data from Qatar at their technical headquarters in Verona to ensure that the lack of corner-entry confidence that afflicted Shinya at the Losail circuit isn't a problem in Spain.
It is hoped that the tighter Jerez circuit should better suit both the bike and the 29-year-old Japanese rider's style.
Gianluca Montiron Team Manager KONICA MINOLTA Honda
We all expect maximum effort from each other, the rider, Team and myself this is why we compete, so we will give 100% at Jerez. Qatar was the first race in a long season, so I think we will have to be three or four races in before we have a clear vision of where we are in comparison with our competitors and at every race we will work hard to close the gap on the leaders. For Jerez, we are aiming to be in the top five or six positions. I believe we have the best technical package in MotoGP, but everything must work at 100% for us to give the best package to Shinya and then he can improve too. We acquired a lot of information from Qatar GP, they'll be useful to make steps ahead in all sectors.
Shinya Nakano Rider, KONICA MINOLTA Honda
We learnt a lot about the bike at Qatar, but we didn't get a good start, and this is so important at Jerez, so hopefully we can adjust something for this weekend.
We didn't have any big problems in Qatar, the bike was stable, and it feels good everywhere, but we need some strong point in our technical package to move us forward. Everyone tells me I have a classic 250cc style, which is smooth and hopefully as we progress this will suit the new 800cc bike. I've tried changing my style in the past, to try to be more aggressive on the brakes, but then I crash, so I believe in my riding style! I need a good contact feeling with the front tyre, but being smooth should also be better for longer tyre life. I like the Jerez track a lot it's very technical and for the last two years I've had good qualifying and race positions, so I'm hopeful of a good result. Jerez always gives me a very special feeling as it's one of the best GPs to race at and attend. It's a pleasure to ride in front of so many fans and I'm also very excited that my father is flying in from Japan to watch! My parents have flown in a few times to Europe to watch races, but never Jerez. With its unique atmosphere I wanted to show him the Spanish GP at Jerez. I think he will love it!
Giulio Bernardelle Technical Director, KONICA MINOLTA Honda
We have checked the data from Qatar and we understand that on the entry of the corner Shinya was not so confident. To help with this we have decided to test something different with the front tyre on Friday morning in Jerez, so we shall see how this helps. Machine balance is one of most important differences between the five-cylinder Honda RC211V and the four-cylinder 212V, as with the new bike there's more weight over the front. So, we will make some small adjustments in the machine geometry to see if that helps. Our base setting from the IRTA test last month is good, so we are hopeful that Shinya can be fast from Friday morning. With race starts, we knew what Shinya's habits were with the Kawasaki and we've tested a lot over the winter with the new electronic set-up of the starting system on the 800cc machine, so we're hoping we can improve that also. Jerez is a different track and our winter tests results have been much better than Qatar, so we're more confident of a good result at Jerez.
Konica Minolta Honda