DE ANGELIS SECURES SECOND ROW START AT PHILLIP ISLAND
San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Alex de Angelis will start from the second row of the grid in tomorrow's Australian Grand Prix following another impressive performance in this afternoon's single qualifying practice. The San Marino rider shrugged off an early crash to lap sixth fastest at the end of a typically intense session, his performance all the more impressive considering that he was forced to use his second bike, which had a setting he was not entirely comfortable with.
Toni Elias made progress throughout the day after complaining of a severe lack of grip yesterday. A rain shower in this morning's final free practice provided a minor setback but in the afternoon the Spaniard was still able to shave almost two seconds off his best lap time from yesterday. However, despite being less than half a second off the pace of his team-mate his best time was only good enough for eleventh position.
Alex De Angelis (6th; 1'31.260): "It was a real shame about the crash because I had a good feeling from the start of the session and that was the bike that had the better setting on, in terms of working with the hard race tyre, and it would have been good to get some more laps on it. Having said that there were some things about the setting on the other bike that I liked and I was able to push it and set a few laps in the 1'31.2, 1'31.3 mark. The good thing is that we have found good things from both settings -- now we have to work how best to combine them together! Either way I'm pleased with our performance today and confident about the race tomorrow."
Toni Elias (11th 1'31.640): "We improved this morning and again in the afternoon but not enough for my liking at all. I'm really not sure how much more we can improve things tomorrow or what our expectations can be for the race so the target just has to be to get as good a start as possible and see who we can follow. It is a matter of finding some more traction and I suppose the thing that would really help us is if we get more sunshine tomorrow. Hopefully we get a little bit of help from the weather but the late race start time doesn't make me too optimistic!"
Fausto Gresini - Team Manager: "I'm pleased to see that Alex confirmed the good form that he already showed yesterday. The second row is an excellent starting position and tomorrow he can aim for a top result. It is a shame about the crash in the first part of the practice - without that things could have been even better. Toni still has traction problems and I'm afraid it looks like it will be a tough race for him tomorrow, However, knowing his determination, I believe he will make the best of the situation."