Czech GP: Gresini Racing preview

SAN CARLO HONDA GRESINI TEAM BACK IN ACTION AFTER BRIEF SUMMER BREAK The San Carlo Honda Gresini Team returns to action following a three-week summer break this weekend as the MotoGP World Championship roars back into life at the Brno circuit in...

SAN CARLO HONDA GRESINI TEAM BACK IN ACTION AFTER BRIEF SUMMER BREAK

The San Carlo Honda Gresini Team returns to action following a three-week summer break this weekend as the MotoGP World Championship roars back into life at the Brno circuit in the heart of the Czech Republic. The eleventh round of seventeen could not come soon enough for Toni Elias and Alex De Angelis, who both took starring roles in a dramatic race last time out at Donington Park.

Toni Elias led the race over the opening laps before crashing out and has spent the last two weeks taking out his frustrations in his home gymnasium. The Spanish rider has made giant strides with the set-up of his factory-spec RC212V in recent weeks and is targeting a repeat of his sensational podium at Brno last season, when he finished second to Valentino Rossi. Elias also has a victory in the 125cc class and two 250cc podiums to his credit at the Czech circuit.

Alex de Angelis equalled his best ever MotoGP result with a mature ride at Donington, guiding his satellite version RC212V home in fourth place. The San Marino rider, who finished third in the 125cc race in the Czech Republic in 2003, has also been training hard during the break, as well as making a guest appearance in the San Marino Rose'n Bowl Rally, and is looking to continue his improving run of form as the season reaches its most important stage.

This is the 40th occasion that the World Championship has stopped off in Brno -- the first of them was in 1965 on the old road circuit, which measured almost 14km. The first few editions were dominated by British riders and in 1966 the legendary Mike Hailwood won three races in one day. Riding a Honda, "Mike the Bike" took victory in the 500cc, 350cc and 250cc categories. However, the most successful rider at the old circuit was Giacomo Agostini, who took seven wins in the premier class. The current circuit was used for the first time in 1987 and, with the exception of the 1992 season, has been a key fixture on the calendar ever since.

#15 ALEX DE ANGELIS

"After my fourth place at Donington it was wonderful to go home and celebrate with my family and friends. Then I drove a Renault Clio S 1600 as the pace car in the San Marino Rose'n Bowl Rally, which was fantastic -- rallying is my big passion. That was my only time off during the break -- I have spent the rest of the time in training for Brno. I really like the circuit and in terms of its technical characteristics it is very similar to Sachsenring, with a nice flow to it but with some hard braking and acceleration zones. It may be hard to repeat my result from Donington but in any case I'll try my best to bring home another good result that keeps the season moving in a positive direction."

#24 TONI ELIAS

"I love the Brno circuit because of the way it flows and the elevation changes. The other thing l like about it is the three or four braking zones at the end of long straights, where you have to brake really hard because the corners are quite tight. Obviously I have great memories of Brno from last year, when I finished on the podium after a truly disastrous start to the season, so I have high hopes for this weekend. The crash at Donington was disappointing but I have been trying to look back on the positive side of the weekend in England, which is that I was fast and strong and on the pace with the lead guys, and there's no reason to think I can't repeat that level of performance at Brno. A repeat of last year's podium would be difficult but I firmly believe the whole team is working well and anything is possible. During the two-week break I've been training in my gym at home and running a lot -- the area where I live is ideal for it. I'll take a beach holiday on an island somewhere in September."

FAUSTO GRESINI -- TEAM MANAGER

"After a difficult start to the season we are finally reaping the fruit of all our efforts, the whole team is working well and the progress is being reflected in the results being achieved by our riders. After Alex's fourth place and the great race Toni was having before his crash at Donington we can look ahead with confidence in the knowledge that we can be back in the fight with the best teams in MotoGP. Brno is a circuit both our riders like and now the team is able to provide them with the means to pick up more important results."

-credit: gresini

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Valentino Rossi , Giacomo Agostini , Toni Elias , Alex de Angelis , Mike Hailwood