ELIAS SECURES SECOND ROW START AT HOME RACE San Carlo Honda Gresini Team rider Toni Elias will start the Catalunya Grand Prix from the second row of the grid after qualifying in an excellent fifth position today. After two days of hard work in...
ELIAS SECURES SECOND ROW START AT HOME RACE
San Carlo Honda Gresini Team rider Toni Elias will start the Catalunya Grand Prix from the second row of the grid after qualifying in an excellent fifth position today. After two days of hard work in gruelling Spanish summer heat, with ambient temperatures of 38C and 52C registered on the track surface, Elias made huge strides forward with his race set-up in the afternoon and was able to set an excellent flying lap after fitting a new soft rear tyre in the closing stages.
Alex de Angelis also made progress today, the San Marinese experimenting with different chassis solutions in the search for improved rear grip and lapping just three tenths of a second slower than his Spanish team-mate. However, it was a bittersweet session for De Angelis, with no fewer than eight riders separating him from Elias on the timesheets in an incredibly close finale. As a result, the youngster will start from 14th on the grid but with everything to play for in what promises to be a 25-lap marathon tomorrow.
Toni Elias (5th 1'43.139): "The truth is that we're really satisfied with today because after a difficult free practice this morning we managed to 'turn over the tortilla', as we say here in Spain, and the afternoon was a completely different story. Basically the mechanics have stripped down the bike and rebuilt it again and I want to thank each and every one of them because they have done a fantastic job. The whole team have worked hard yesterday and today and without that we couldn't have done what we did in qualifying. I still think we have to keep working just as hard because our potential is much higher but after finishing second to last this morning and then qualifying fifth this afternoon... we can't ask for more than that. The target for tomorrow will be to repeat this position because obviously it is going to be difficult to break the top four in normal circumstances with what we have. If any of them make it easy for us and if we have the chance to make up a position or two, obviously we'll take it. But the important thing is to keep this hard work up and make sure we are in a position to take advantage where we can."
Alex De Angelis (14th; 1'43.422): "We've taken a big step forward and closed the gap a lot but we were a little unlucky today because for the sake of a few tenths of a second we're ten places behind where we could have been on the grid! My team-mate was three tenths quicker and he's fifth so that tells you everything. So on one hand it's a shame but on the other hand it is a huge source of motivation to know that we're all so close and it just makes you more determined to keep fighting. Obviously the top four are a step ahead but after that it's really tight and the battle of the satellite bikes is the one we really want to win. We have to keep working hard and above all think positive. If we believe we can do well then there is no reason why we cannot."
Fausto Gresini - Team Manager: "After suffering yesterday and even this morning we found the right way forward in the afternoon and all in all today was a big improvement. We've been in a long tunnel and today we've seen the light at the end of it so hopefully now we can step out into the sunshine! The whole team have worked extremely hard and Toni was able to find a good compromise with his set-up that we hope to improve even further tomorrow morning. With him fifth on the grid tonight we'll be dreaming of a great race for him in front of his home crowd tomorrow. Alex has also taken a step forward today and he's much closer to the others. Qualifying could have gone better but the important thing is that we seem to be on the right track with him too and we have some more ideas that we hope will help him put up a great fight in the race."
-credit: gresini racing