DE ANGELIS CLINCHES FANTASTIC FOURTH AT PHILLIP ISLAND
San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Alex de Angelis produced another demonstration of his growing maturity and talent at Phillip Island today as he took an outstanding fourth place in the Australian Grand Prix. The San Marino rider had been on the pace all weekend and gave a sign of things to come with a stunning warm-up session this morning, when he clocked the fastest time, ahead of eventual race winner Casey Stoner, with a lap of 1'30.807 -- almost half a second faster than the qualifying time that had secured him sixth place on the grid! Alex made a great start to the race and passed Colin Edwards on the opening lap, with a crash for Jorge Lorenzo lifting him to fourth place -- a position he held over 27 laps to the chequered flag. His team-mate Toni Elias also made an incredible start from eleventh on the grid to tuck in just behind De Angelis in fifth place on lap one, although the Spaniard struggled to maintain his pace as the tyres began to wear and he eventually dropped back to tenth.
Alex De Angelis (4th): "It has been a fantastic weekend all round and I really enjoyed myself in that race -- especially the first four or five laps when I was running with the top guys in the championship. It was a good feeling but their pace was incredible and for me it was just an achievement to stick with them for a while and open up a gap over the guys behind me. From then on it was a case of staying consistent and holding my position, which is a great result for us. Despite not scoring points in the last two races we have been on an excellent run of form since Germany -- I've finished in the top five in four of the races since then, and I think I've proved that I deserve to be seventh in the championship. It is a credit to my team as well because we have worked fantastically well together recently and I want to thank them too."
Toni Elias (10th): "We have made the bike a lot better as the weekend progressed but we never managed to find any consistency. I got a great start and kept pace with the front guys for the first few laps but then I went from setting high 1'31s to struggling around in the 1'33s -- losing two seconds a lap is just ridiculous. Anyway, considering all the problems we've had we've rescued a few points and we're within five points of seventh place, which is now occupied by my team-mate. That is our goal over the next two races and I'm sure we won't suffer the same problems in Malaysia."
Fausto Gresini - Team Manager: "Alex had a wonderful race and fourth place is a result that gives me a lot of satisfaction. Alex and his team have done a great job since Friday and have been up amongst the front guys in every session. It is a shame for Toni because we had hoped to solve the problems he's had since the beginning of the weekend but we haven't and it was a tough Grand Prix for him."
-credit: gresini racing