Jerez : Konica Minolta Honda Day Two
KONICA MINOLTA Honda rider Shinya Nakano qualified in seventh position for tomorrow's Spanish MotoGP race, in a close and exciting qualifying session that saw less than half a second cover the top 12 riders.
On qualifying tyres,
the 29-year-old Japanese rider stormed to a best lap-time of 1'39.632, meaning that he heads the third row for tomorrow afternoon's MotoGP race.
Gianluca Montiron Team Manager KONICA MINOLTA Honda
We are more satisfied than yesterday, that's for sure! I think this result is a combination of Shinya improving and also getting used to the machine and tyre package that he has at his disposal. We're hoping that we're starting to see some of Shinya's huge potential on this new Honda RC212V. It was a very close and exciting qualifying, I think this result has come from a change in riding style from Shinya and he's also starting to gel with the Michelin tyres a little more. We were a little conservative yesterday as we had some things to test, but with a few adjustments Shinya shaved around one second from his lap time on race tyres. We hope we have a good set-up that will allow us to stay with the leaders tomorrow. We also need a good start as Jerez is a hard track to pass at, especially in the first sector.
Shinya Nakano Rider, KONICA MINOLTA Honda (54 laps 1'39.632 7th position)
That was so much better than yesterday! Overnight the Team explained what my problem has been. I think that maybe I was pushing too hard in some areas. From the data and by following some of the top guys I could see that something was missing from my technique with this new 800cc bike. I was losing a little confidence, but then I could see that I was entering the corners way too fast and then as a result I could not get on the throttle early enough. As soon as I stopped trying so hard and relaxed a little the times improved. From 7th on the grid the start will be so important and if I make a start like I've made during practice then we should be able to get away with the top riders.
Race pace will be low 41s I think, so maybe I need to improve by a couple of tenths. I want to have a good race as my father is over from Japan to watch me!
Giulio Bernardelle Technical Director, KONICA MINOLTA Honda
We decided last night to go back to our IRTA test session set-up as that was our only previous reference point and it was a good choice! Shinya was faster from this morning and was also confident again. We realised how to get the best from our technical package and for Shinya this meant not being so aggressive and hard on the brakes and use a little more throttle from mid-corner. Both race tyres have shown good, consistent times in our race simulations and I think the top five or six riders will be around the 1'41.1 bracket and this is Shinya's potential too. Although he wasn't the fastest on race tyres, he was not pushing hard, so the lap times came easy for him, our problem was realising how we could do the lap-time, which we hope we've solved now! The start is essential here, so today we also practised some starts which have shown great improvement. From 7th on the grid, Shinya is on the perfect side of the track for turn one, so we are hopeful that he gets a good start.
Konica Minolta Honda