Elias Takes Outstanding Podium San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Toni Elias took an outstanding podium position in the Czech Republic Grand Prix today, holding off the attentions of factory Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso in a hot and intense race to...
Elias Takes Outstanding Podium
San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Toni Elias took an outstanding podium position in the Czech Republic Grand Prix today, holding off the attentions of factory Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso in a hot and intense race to seal third place.
Elias started well from fourth on the grid and led the chase to a breakaway group of three riders, which was reduced to two after Jorge Lorenzo crashed in front of Valentino Rossi as the race entered its final third. With Dani Pedrosa lapping alone in second, Elias fought tooth and nail to hold off a strong challenge from Donington race winner Dovizioso and return to the podium at Brno, where he celebrated second place last year.
Alex de Angelis was confident of a top ten finish today and he made sure of that by setting a fast early pace that had him ninth place for much of the race. However, a butterfly became trapped inside his helmet five laps from the end, forcing him to lose positions and lose touch with the group he was fighting in, only to be lifted up the order as several riders crashed ahead of him in the closing stages.
Toni Elias (3rd 43'29"747): "This is a fantastic result for me. The team have done a great job all weekend -- from the first session on Friday right up to the end of qualifying yesterday we have been improving the bike and we were able to put ourselves in the position to capitalise on Jorge's crash. It was like a present to me because we never expected to be able to break up the top three riders today -- they have been at a different level all weekend -- but we know anything can happen in racing. Everybody knows my future is unclear at the moment but I hope this sends out the right message. I am a rider who finishes on the podium year in year out and I will keep pushing to show my worth at Indianapolis. I know my team will back me up because they have worked so hard for me so far and I want to thank them for that. We want to keep this going until the end of the season."
Alex De Angelis (8th 43'43"100): "I set a target of a top eight today so I am satisfied to achieve that but it could have been so much better. I was comfortable running with Edwards, Hayden and the others until I suddenly got a butterfly trapped in my helmet. It was flapping around in front of my eyes and I couldn't see a thing! When it finally settled down I was able to focus again but my chance had gone. At the moment I'm not feeling too well and I have some pain in my back so I am heading straight to the Clinica Mobile but I'm sure I'll be fine for the next race, where I hope we can continue to show our potential."
Fausto Gresini - Team Manager: "I'm so happy -- it was really important for us to get back on the podium and it gives us great satisfaction to do so today. Toni has done a great job all weekend and he showed his race-craft today in a great battle with Dovizioso. For him to be back on the podium here having done so last year is a great personal achievement and the whole team are delighted for him because we all hold him high regard and have a lot of affection for him. This is a great feeling -- we've not experienced it for a while so I want to thank the whole team for their efforts, which made it possible. Alex didn't do badly today it was just a shame about the butterfly. Other than that he had a good race and he showed his potential - I hope he can do that again in the next race."
-credit: gresini racing