Shinya Nakano and his Konica Minolta Honda Team enjoyed another positive day today at the 2.6mile Estoril circuit in Portugal. Despite a crash on his number one bike with 47 minutes to go in the qualifying session, the 29-year-old Japanese rider's...
Shinya Nakano and his Konica Minolta Honda Team enjoyed another positive day today at the 2.6mile Estoril circuit in Portugal. Despite a crash on his number one bike with 47 minutes to go in the qualifying session, the 29-year-old Japanese rider's improved feedback and feeling from his 'Number 2' 800cc RC212V machine with Michelin tyres meant that he could still shave more than a second from yesterday's best lap time. The former 250cc World Championship runner-up managed to stay in the top ten for most of the hour session, despite the second bike not being as well set- up for Estoril's tight twists and turns. However, the improvements found in the overall Konica Minolta Honda technical package means that both Team and rider are confident for an improved result in tomorrow's 28-lap race.
Gianluca Montiron - Team Manager Konica Minolta Honda
"Shinya crashed today but we could see that when he did he was pushing hard and well into the top five early in the session. It was a shame that he crashed, but even with the second bike I think we could see that Shinya was getting into a good rhythm. We lost out a little in the last few minutes as we were in the top 10 but Shinya found it difficult to improve on the qualifying tyres and a few riders managed to make the jump ahead of us and we were pushed down. Despite this we can see that our situation on race tyres is better than it's been before and with a good start I think Shinya will have the consistency to stay with the second group of riders.
Shinya Nakano - Rider, Konica Minolta Honda (49 laps - 1' 37.530")
"I crashed at start of session and lost my 'fast bike' or my Number 1 machine. Despite this I have to say it was a good session. Even with the second machine things were - step-by-step - feeling better and better. I thought I could make a very special qualifying position with the Number 1 bike, but thanks to the crash I simply had to do what I could. Things are still positive, as although I had a slightly different feeling with my second bike, the Michelin tyres were a big improvement and helped me stay in the top 10 for most of the session. Tomorrow is the important thing - the race - but we've decided on the race tyre and I'm happy with the Number 1 race bike. The start will be important once more as it's very difficult to overtake in Estoril."
Giulio Bernardelle - Technical Director, Konica Minolta Honda
"Despite the crash, today has been very positive for us. Shinya crashed at the right-hander before the first hairpin. It was a 'normal' crash where he lost the front-end of the bike and he is uninjured. This meant Shinya had to use the second machine. We were a little unlucky, as with the Number 1 bike perhaps we could have got more time with a qualifying tyre, as despite identical set-up, you never get as good a feeling as with the 'Number 1' machine. Overall though, for us these two days of practice have shown we are in a better situation than so far this season and we've improved a lot with race tyres. With a good start we are hoping that Shinya can stay with the second group and get a good result."