French GP: Konica Minolta Honda preview

Back to Europe at Le Mans for Konica Minolta Honda Konica Minolta Honda heads back to Europe for this weekend's French Grand Prix seeking a good result at the 2.6 mile Bugatti circuit of Le Mans. After the Chinese GP where he recorded his first...

Back to Europe at Le Mans for Konica Minolta Honda

Konica Minolta Honda heads back to Europe for this weekend's French Grand Prix seeking a good result at the 2.6 mile Bugatti circuit of Le Mans. After the Chinese GP where he recorded his first DNF of the season through no fault of his own, Shinya Nakano is looking forward to the challenging and technical Le Mans circuit, a track at which he has enjoyed and performed well at before. Last year the 29-year-old former qualified second on the grid for the race.

Gianluca Montiron - Team Manager Konica Minolta Honda

"I think Le Mans can be the place for us to improve our results. Michelin know the track and the tarmac well of the famous Bugatti circuit and I am sure that Michelin will provide us with new tires allowing Shinya to get a better feeling from the Honda RC212V. During the first four races the Team tested many different settings but every time we had to revert to the setting that Shinya chose from the beginning of the season. This European round will be important because it's vital that we get a good result. On the business side of things, our organization is doing well and thanks to the services offered to our Sponsors and Partners, from Le Mans GP we will be joined by the multi-national Company 'Whirlpool'. I'm glad that another big sponsor enters MotoGP with JiR. Whirlpool will join us from the French GP until Assen and the target of this operation will be to approach the female world that could represent a new target audience for Motorsport. Whirlpool is one of the brands to be displayed on the lower part of the Honda RC212V's fairing of Shinya Nakano at the side of the logo of the Cycling World Championships "Varese 2008". With Konica Minolta we have been very successful in involving the branches to be part of our GP programme and our business plan is to use our MotoGP programme to reach our Sponsors' customers. JiR has a clear identity in this and we enjoy the challenge of striving for excellence both on-track and in our business dealings."

Shinya Nakano - Rider, Konica Minolta Honda

"It's fair to say that we did not have a good weekend last time out in China, but I know the Team and I will bounce back for Le Mans. I'm hoping that we will be much stronger on race tyres here as I really enjoy the circuit layout. Last year at the French GP I almost got pole, but eventually was bumped-back to second. This shows I can do it, so I'm very much looking forward to getting on the pace from the very first practice session."

Giulio Bernardelle - Technical Director, Konica Minolta Honda

"We need to make improvements and we are expecting some new tires from Michelin. In this phase of the season, this is the component of our technical package which could have a quicker development to better support the riding needs of our rider. Furthermore, arriving in Europe for the next few races it should be easier for Michelin to fast the tires development. We are focusing in particular on the front tyre. Ground conditions and temperatures will be very different to the last few races and for this reason I hope things will be better for us. Le Mans is a technical circuit and one, which should be good for our machine. Le Mans is also an old-style layout, with few long straights so the rider can make the difference, so we expect big things from Shinya."

-credit: kmh

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Shinya Nakano