The picturesque circuit of Phillip Island plays host to the 16th round of the MotoGP championship this weekend. The undulating 2.764-mile circuit is a favourite for both riders and fans as the fast, flowing circuit normally makes for exciting, close racing.
The KONICA MINOLTA Honda Team and rider Shinya Nakano will be hoping that their improved form in practice and qualifying from the last two GPs will now be converted into a solid top-ten race result on Sunday’s race afternoon.
Last year’s Australian MotoGP race was the first to feature the new ‘bike-swap’ rules for a rain-affected race, where riders enter the pits and change to their second bike equipped with different tyres if the weather and conditions change. It is hoped that good weather will be in place for the whole race weekend at Phillip Island this year.
Gianluca Montiron – Team Manager KONICA MINOLTA Honda
“Phillip Island is one of the best tracks in the world and one of our favourites to visit. We hope that this weekend we have the possibility to see our rider Shinya Nakano to really show what he is capable of. I still believe he has both the potential and capacity to ride our Honda RCV212V hard, but as we have seen this year he has found it difficult to adapt to the new technical package of new machine, new Team, manufacturer and tyre supplier. What we have seen is an improvement in our situation on Friday and Saturdays so we’re closer in time to the front-runners, but we now need this to continue into Sunday’s race. As far as the weather goes, we simply hope for some consistent weather – that means rain or sun – but nothing in between where it’s neither wet nor dry! We really want a good result from Australia and the following two races in Malaysia and Spain so we can hopefully improve our overall championship position before the end of the season.”
Shinya Nakano – Rider, KONICA MINOLTA Honda
“I very much enjoy the Phillip Island circuit, even if it was the scene of me losing the 2000 250cc title to my team-mate Olivier Jacque by just a few metres at the finish line! It is fast and flowing, but then there are always a few hard braking areas too, it really has everything. The only thing that can spoil the race sometimes is the very changeable weather! I’m hoping for good weather this weekend as I know we have to get our best results of the year in these last three races.”
Giulio Bernardelle – Technical Director, KONICA MINOLTA Honda
“We enjoy going to Phillip Island, the track is one of the best in the world and it is one which every rider enjoys as it has a mixture of low and high-speed corners. You have that wonderful last corner before the main straight, two hard braking places with the two hairpins where the rider uses first gear and a fifth/sixth gear corner after main straight, it really is amazing. The circuit itself demands that you need a good compromise on set-up, but it is a track where once again the rider can make a difference, so we know Shinya enjoys the circuit we just hope that the weather conditions will suit us and our tyres. At this time of year, the weather can be changeable and the temperatures can be quite low. We shall see what awaits us this weekend. We tested there in February but this data will not really give us anything other than a possible base setting to try on Friday.”