While Shinya Nakano was disappointed to finish today’s free practice ahead of Sunday’s Grand Prix of Turkey down in 13th position, the Kawasaki rider remains confident that tomorrow will bring a significant improvement in his lap time.

The traction problems that plagued Nakano during the Grand Prix of Qatar three weeks ago were again evident during both one-hour free practice sessions today, losing the Kawasaki rider vital fractions of a second at each corner.

The 28-year-old Japanese star also had problems at some of the slower turns on the 5.340km Istanbul Park circuit, where he was finding it difficult to make quick changes of direction aboard his Kawasaki Ninja ZX-RR.

Despite not finishing as far up the timesheet as he expected, Nakano remains confident that, together with his crew, he can find a solution to both problems ahead of tomorrow afternoons qualifying session.

Like his Kawasaki teammate, Randy de Puniet also found the fast changes of direction required at Istanbul, especially for the chicane complex at the end of the lap, a problem today.

The 25-year-old Frenchman identified the final split as the place he was losing most time on each lap, and this is where the efforts of de Puniet and his crew were focussed during this afternoon’s free practice session.

The Kawasaki rider made a number of changes to the set-up of his Ninja ZX-RR, whilst also trying different lines through the final chicane, but to no avail, with the result that he ended today down in 15th place on the timesheet.

De Puniet will head out for tomorrows final free practice session with a clear goal; to improve his speed through the Istanbul Park circuit’s slower turns and to close to within one second of the leading riders.

Shinya Nakano: 13th – 1’55.803

“We have similar problem here as we had in Qatar in that I’m losing time accelerating out of the turns, especially the slow corners. I just can’t seem to find traction at the rear. I can match everyone else down the straights and on the brakes, but I lose ground as soon as we’re out of the turn and back on the gas. We also have some issues with getting the bike turned, which is again more noticeable around the slower corners. We need to look a little more closely at the set-up of both the chassis and the engine tonight to try and alleviate these problems ready for tomorrow. I’m enjoying being back on the bike, I like racing at this circuit, and I’m confident we can improve during tomorrows practice and qualifying sessions.”

Randy de Puniet: 15th – 1’56.959
“Although the lap time isn’t what I was hoping for, today has not been so bad for me. My main problem is the fact that I’m losing so much time through the last split, especially around the chicane complex right at the end of the lap. We tried a few changes with the bike this afternoon, and I’ve tried a few different lines through these slow turns, but we’ve yet to see an improvement. We will concentrate on this again tomorrow, when my target is to close to within one second of the leading riders.”

Naoya Kaneko: Technical Manager
“While our Ninja ZX-RR is very stable on the brakes going into the turns, it seems that both riders are experiencing problems with the quick changes of direction required for some of the slower corners here in Istanbul. Tomorrow we need to look at our set-up, and the possibility of maybe compromising some of this stability in order to make the bike more agile through the turns.”

1. Nicky Hayden (USA) Repsol Honda Team 1’55.623; 2. Casey Stoner (AUS) LCR Honda +0.238; 3. Marco Melandri (ITA) Fortuna Honda +0.348; 4. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda Team +0.378; 5. Toni Elias (SPA) Fortuna Honda +0.399; 6. Colin Edwards (USA) Camel Yamaha Team +0.419; 7. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Ducati Marlboro Team +0.432; 8. John Hopkins (USA) Team Suzuki MotoGP +0.604; 9. Sete Gibernau (SPA) Ducati Marlboro Team +0.656; 10. Makoto Tamada (JPN) JIR Konica Minolta Honda +0.799; 13. Shinya Nakano (JPN) Kawasaki Racing Team +1.344; 15. Randy de Puniet (FRA) Kawasaki Racing Team +2.077

Speak Your Mind