The Konica Minolta Honda Team are pleased to announce the incorporation of Shinya Nakano in their ranks as official rider for the 2007 MotoGP World Championship. The Japanese rider will be onboard his new Honda 800cc for the first time at the Jerez de la Frontera Circuit later this year, in tests scheduled for November 28-30th.
Shinya Nakano made his MotoGP debut in 1999 in the 250cc category with the Yamaha Tech 3 Team, taking fourth place in the overall classification. The following year was his most successful in the quarter litre category, in which he battled for the title with team mate Olivier Jacque. The Japanese rider just missed out on the title in one of the closest finishes of all time in the class.
The following year saw him still riding a Yamaha, but moving up to the 500cc category whilst defending the colours of the French Team. In 2002, the first season of the MotoGP era, he debuted on the 4-stroke Yamaha M1 and continued with it a season later. Whilst Nakano was still allied with the Iwata-based factory, he was provided with livery by the D'Antin team. Shinya moved teams in 2004 to join Kawasaki Racing, where he has spent the last three seasons. Riding the Kawasaki Ninja, he demonstrated the class which has convinced the Konica Minolta Honda Team to place their faith in him for the coming season, often exceeding expectations to fight for podium places, including his best ever position of second place this year at Assen. The decision to join his new team gives Nakano the possibility to lead the Konica Minolta Honda Team into the 800cc era, a move which is hoped will signify a definitive step up in competitiveness.
Gianluca Montiron - Konica Minolta Honda General Director;
"I'm really satisfied with Shinya's decision to accept our proposal. For us he represents the best choice for the continuation of our MotoGP project, which we have developed in conjunction with a Japanese rider since our debut. We once again wish to thank Makoto Tamada for the remarkable job he did when racing for us but, it was the time to find new motivations for both parties. The entire staff are looking forward to starting work with Shinya and the new bike to immediately organise next season's working plan. We will be ready to give our utmost support to our new rider: his talent, his determination and his experience will be fundamental in reaching the results we all strive for. In comparison with this year, Konica Minolta's technical structure will not be considerably modified in 2007"
"I have been at Kawasaki for three years. I'm satisfied with what I did with their Team, for the job done and for the improvements we made, but I felt the need to find new motivation somewhere else. The offer made by the Konica Minolta Honda Team arrived at just the right moment, even though I have to say that it was a difficult decision to make. I'm excited about working with Honda, the Number 1 bike manufacturer. It will be a pleasure to work with JiR, the new team. I will work hard to get on the podium as many times as possible and plan the season with the target being to fight for the title. Up until now, I have not tested the 800cc bikes, but I expect good handling characteristics and a higher cornering speed. If it will be like this, I think that these characteristics will fit in well with my riding style. I can't wait to meet and work with the new technical staff, they are all specialists with a huge amount of experience. I'll try to learn from them, and combining their knowledge with mine, obtained throughout my eight-year presence in MotoGP, I think we can get good results. I'm happy to have a Japanese sponsor like Konica Minolta supporting me, it was my dream and thanks to them it came true."