TT Assen: Konica Minolta Honda Thursday notes

Top-ten in practice for Konica Minolta Honda and Shinya Nakano Shinya Nakano scored a top-ten position during first practice for Saturday's Dutch TT race. The 29-year-old Japanese rider took his Konica Minolta Honda RC211V to ninth place in ...

Top-ten in practice for Konica Minolta Honda and Shinya Nakano

Shinya Nakano scored a top-ten position during first practice for Saturday's Dutch TT race. The 29-year-old Japanese rider took his Konica Minolta Honda RC211V to ninth place in today's two combined practice sessions. Shinya and the Team spent their day testing slick tyres from Michelin and making suspension adjustments to their 800cc Honda. In the afternoon track conditions had improved and Shinya put in his quick time with just three minutes to go, pushing him up to seventh place, before he dropped two places in the dying moments of the hour-long session. It was another closely-fought practice session with half-a-second covering the top seven finishers and just one second covering the top 14 riders. Saturday's race will be the second at the newly-configured 2.8mile Assen circuit and the first for the new-breed of 800cc MotoGP machines. The Dutch event marks the half-way point in the 18-round 2007 season. Rain is once more forecast for tomorrow's final qualifying session.

Gianluca Montiron - Team Manager Konica Minolta Honda

"In the last few laps Shinya found a good feeling with the bike and he improved in the first and second sectors. Today we tested different tyres and with the last one Shinya had much more feeling and found that in the second sector he was able to push and find a better line through the corners - which is vital at Assen. Tomorrow we should be able to improve our time once more, but for us and everyone else it will all depend on the weather as once more we have rain forecast! We have found a base setting for the weekend, but haven't yet selected a tyre for the race we shall do this tomorrow, but we must remember that the weather situation for the weekend could be the same as Donington Park last week."

Shinya Nakano - Rider, Konica Minolta Honda (53 laps - 1' 38.444")

"Despite the track being dry this morning, the overall grip levels were not so good, perhaps because of the overnight rain. We made some adjustments to the suspension settings for the afternoon session and got a much better feeling from the bike, but we still need one more big step to fight the other guys. At Assen you need a good rhythm and consistency so we will make some adjustments for tomorrow to try and find that. I love the track: it's one of my favourites, so I'm looking for a good qualifying result for tomorrow and a decent finish in the race."

Giulio Bernardelle - Technical Director, Konica Minolta Honda

"This afternoon's session was much better for us. In the morning the temperature was quite low and I think the track conditions and grip levels were not so good, perhaps because of the overnight rain. This meant that Shinya's contact feeling with the bike was also not so good. In the afternoon things were much better. We could get a good lap time, but again we need to get some consistency to be able to do this for the full race distance. Finding a solution to this is our target for tomorrow. We worked on suspension settings today and tried some different Michelin front and rear slicks. We didn't change too much on the bike, as this circuit is quite similar to Donington Park. It's good for Shinya's motivation to be top-ten and now we can start the qualifying day from a better situation than in recent races."

-credit: kmh

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