Bad weather hampers Konica Minolta Honda progress in Holland
More bad weather hampered the Konica Minolta Honda Team's efforts for a good qualifying result today, with rain soaking the Van Drenthe circuit. Team rider Shinya Nakano enjoyed a positive morning practice session, as changes to the front and rear suspension of his Honda RC212V machine allowed him to get a good rhythm around the 2.8mile circuit. This continued in the wet qualifying session this afternoon, where Shinya was initially inside the top-ten for the first half an hour. Then the rain stopped falling changing the conditions once more and this hampered the 29-year-old's progress further up the grid. Then with 20 minutes to go when rain fell again Nakano couldn't improve his time, leaving him in 15th position. The weather for tomorrow's race is expected to be overcast but dry.
Gianluca Montiron - Team Manager Konica Minolta Honda
"At the start Shinya was very fast and was in the top ten then after that we changed tyres because we wanted to test other wet-weather compounds so that - if conditions were similar to Donington - we would have a better idea of which tyre would last the whole race. With one of the tyres Shinya didn't get the feeling with the machine that he needed but with the other one, things were better. I think tomorrow's warm-up will be important for everyone to improve their set-up before the race. Conditions have been difficult again, we hope to have a dry race, but it could be exciting for the fans and the teams if it rains half-way through the race and we have pit-stops to change bikes and tyres!"
Shinya Nakano - Rider, Konica Minolta Honda (55 laps - 1' 51.827")
"The weather conditions are like England again! We changed front and rear suspension settings this morning in the dry and my rhythm and consistency was getting better and the feeling with the bike was improving but the conditions worsened for this afternoon and we had a wet qualifying session. During the first part of qualifying things were not so not bad as I was inside the top 10, but then it stopped raining and it began to dry again and in these changing conditions I found it hard to push hard and the rear was spinning up a lot. When the rain came once more I couldn't improve on my lap-time and other people had gone faster in the drying conditions. I hope it's a dry race tomorrow and I'll need a very good start from 15th as it's difficult to overtake at Assen."
Giulio Bernardelle - Technical Director, Konica Minolta Honda
"In the morning we basically went with a little bit of a harder suspension setting and the situation was better for Shinya, who found it much easier to push harder. The result was that he was setting fairly good consistent lap times, which would have been good for us in a dry race. With our dry setting we just need to finalise the choice for the rear tyre but I think this will be connected to the temperature that we expect tomorrow for the race, which will be quite low. We tried a couple of different rear wet-weather tyres, but the last one was too soft so if it is a wet race we will need to discuss with Michelin about the best rear tyre to use. We need to make a good decision, as we want to make a guarantee to Shinya that he can make a full race on it without it spinning up a lot. Hopefully it will be a dry race, as forecast."