After a forgettable first half of the 2005 MotoGP season, Konica Minolta Honda and rider Makoto Tamada have pressed the reset button and hope to make a fresh start at Brno this weekend.

After winning two races on Bridgestone tyres in 2004, Tamada and his newly named JiR team made the switch to Michelin in the hope of being able to take on the frontrunners on equal terms - and silence critics who said that Tamada's wins were merely Bridgestones victories.

Unfortunately for the team, and despite encouraging pre-season testing pace, the tactic appears to have backfired with Tamada rarely a 2005 frontrunner - although he has been battling with fitness ever since breaking his wrist at Estoril, round two of the championship.

But Tamada has used the summer break to improve his physical condition and aims to better his previous best Brno finish, of fourth, this weekend.

"Finally I will be back on the track and at 100% of physical fitness," said Makoto. "The problems which have slowed me down seem gone and the time to payback the trust of all the persons who never stopped believing in my abilities, in the hardest moment of my career, has come."

"We have pushed the 'reset' button and I hope that from the Czech Republic the Konica Minolta Honda Team can begin its comeback," added team director Luca Montiron. "Makoto has recharged his batteries and he has strong motivations which will help him straighten this, until now, unlucky season. We have to go back to the past year's level.

"From our side we can't do anything more than giving him all our support, since our trust in him has never gone away during the past hard months," he continued. "Now we'll have a series of grand prix which I consider favourable. It will be an important month, we have to recuperate positions in the championship and our tactic will be, as always, to attack."

Rumours suggest Tamada and his team, who have taken a best finish of seventh so far this season, may consider returning to Bridgestone tyres next season.

 

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