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MotoGP - The IRTA test in Catalunya came to an end on a wet day for Konica Minolta Honda MotoGP Team - March 5th 2006

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    The rain, forecasted from the beginning of the week, have characterized the third and last day of the IRTA test. Since the arrival on track this morning, the stormy clouds in the Barcelona sky forced the Konica Minolta Honda Team technicians to change their working plan to define how to carry out the possible wet session.

    During the morning, Makoto Tamada has only been able to cover 6 laps on dry track, later the arrival of the rain, blocked him in the pit box for a long time waiting the track to become completely wet. The riders exploited the 40 minutes official practice on a flooded track.. Makoto Tamada covered 14 laps having his first contact with the Honda RC211V with a wet race set up. In these conditions, the best lap time of the Japanese rider has been 2.02,197.

    Gianluca Montiron - Konica Minolta Honda Managing Director;

    "Today, the cold temperatures and the rain have surely represented a limit for Makoto who, this winter, had never made tests in these conditions. For this, when seeing the weather conditions this morning, we realized that the qualifying session could not be interesting for us of the Konica Minolta Honda Team. After having seen these IRTA test in MontmelÚ I can say that not all the teams are at the same level in the definition of the best bike setting granting high performances with the 2006 tyres. This year, tyres seem to have made an additional and significant step ahead in performances and the introduction of Dunlop in a situation of new-found competitiveness during the last phase of this winter test, would not surely slow the development process already motivated by the Michelin-Bridgestone challenge. We have started testing the new rear tyres Michelin has developed this year, only here in MontmelÚ, therefore we can not be satisfied yet of the balance we found. Anyway, we have verified that the potential to be exploited is very high, therefore we feel confident we will positively complete this first part of the work in Jerez de la Frontera."

    Makoto Tamada - Konica Minolta Honda Rider (2.02,197 - qualifying session - total laps 20);

    "Today's test day has been nearly unhelpful. I could only test the bike on wet conditions for the fist time this year. The impression is the same I had already had with a dry race bike setting, therefore, even in this conditions the last part of the corner approach, is still the phase to be improved.. I am not able yet to ride as I would like to, because I have to force the bike too much to make it lean. In Jerez, we hope to find better weather conditions in order to have all the necessary time to close this development phase of new Honda RC211V basic setting."

    Giulio Bernardelle - Konica Minolta Honda Technical Director;

    "There have not been the right conditions to work profitably, neither with dry ground nor with wet ground. The rain which started falling around midday has never been constant; therefore the grip conditions of the ground were continuously changing. For this, after the qualifying session, we decided to interrupt the test in advance because the work we have to do in this moment would not lead to any useful information if done in these conditions."