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The 2006 of Konica Minolta Honda Team - January 16th 2006

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    After the last part of 2005 where many transfers have characterized various surprises, the queen class of Motorcycle racing opens its fifth season from when the MotoGP arrived with the 990cc prototype with four strokes. The Konica Minolta Honda Team will present with the same 2005 configuration for the new season.

    JiR, that manages the sport and technical activities of the Konica Minolta Honda Team, underline the willing of its partners to give stability to the Japanese motorcycle project which confirm the prestigious multinational Konica Minolta Holdings Inc. as title sponsor, Honda as Technical partner and Makoto Tamada as Rider at his fourth consecutive season in the MotoGP class.

    Luca Montiron - JiR Managing Director;

    "One of the main policies of our JiR's activities development is the diversification. Since 2002 we have decided to develop a project dedicated to the Japanese market, well aware of the difficulties which this program could have presented. Notwithstanding this, we can say we have obtained many satisfying results on both, sport and managerial aspects.

    I think it's not a case if, for the first time in the MotoGP history, a Japanese technological multinational has decided to become the title sponsor of a Team and has chosen, in particular, JiR's structure. The last months have underlined how in our ambient there isn't still sufficient stability to establish a medium-long period program. We have to be grateful to Konica Minolta and Honda which have renewed their trust in our project and in our structure.

    In 2006 JiR will be put to work to enlarge the services offered to Konica Minolta and the other partners. We are convinced that motorcycle racing will still grow as it has been in the past seasons and JiR wants to be ready under a professional aspect to use in the best way its benefits. Under the technical and sport level, I think that the group of work directed by Engineer Bernardelle has all it needs to support in the best way Makoto Tamada, by managing the Honda RC211V."

    Giulio Bernardelle - Konica Minolta Honda Technical Director;

    "From the end of the past season it has begun for us a period in which we have analyzed the 2005 season results. We have compared them with the previous two season's results. This has made us understand which changes we could have done to our structure to grow even more our technical abilities. We have taken all the necessary time to make those adjustments needed to develop our staff capacities and the technical instruments at our disposal. A period of considerations and programming which I consider really profitable. One of the changes is the way we'll approach winter testing. Last year, between the end of the 2004 season and the first race in Jerez de La Frontera, we have covered around 9.000 km with Tamada, divided in eight test sessions. We have been overall always between the fastest, in every test, to later find some unforeseen difficulties from the first race. This year we have decided to decrease the quantity of test to increase the quality. In this way, we'll begin from Phillip Island, where we'll try for three days from January 31st. We want to test in those particular climatic conditions, characterized by medium - low temperatures, in which we didn't give our best in 2005. At the end of winter, we'll have done only one "hot" test, in Sepang on February 14th, 15th and 16th. We are trustful about this program which will present us at the best at the beginning of the season, having used more time to study the conditions which we'll meet in the spring in Jerez de La Frontera."

    Makoto Tamada - Konica Minolta Honda Rider;

    "After a reinvigorating winter break, I can say I had all the time necessary to recharge the batteries. I have done a lot of physical preparation, I am trustful and convinced to be able to use in the best way last year not too happy experience. It has been important for me, for this reason I consider the 2006 season the year of the positive turning point of my career. I have never stopped believing in my and the Team's abilities. I thank Honda and Konica Minolta for their renovate trust."