French GP: Gresini Racing Friday practice report

ELIAS AND DE ANGELIS RUN OUT OF TIME ON DAY ONE IN FRANCE San Carlo Honda Gresini Team rider Toni Elias showed another example of his grit and determination today as he rode through the discomfort of 30 stitches in his right forearm to set the...

ELIAS AND DE ANGELIS RUN OUT OF TIME ON DAY ONE IN FRANCE

San Carlo Honda Gresini Team rider Toni Elias showed another example of his grit and determination today as he rode through the discomfort of 30 stitches in his right forearm to set the 11th fastest time in the opening free practice session for the Grand Prix de France. Elias underwent surgery for compartmental syndrome (arm pump) on the Monday following the last race at Jerez and is not expecting to return to full fitness at least until the team's home race at Mugello in a fortnight.

Alex de Angelis has now full recovered from the 'flu symptoms that affected his performance at Jerez although the San Marinese rider was off the pace today, lapping 16th fastest. De Angelis was experimenting with two different settings in the opening part of the session but missed the opportunity to try a compromise set-up when rain began falling in the final fifteen minutes. With all sessions returning to an hour in length this weekend, both De Angelis and Elias will be hoping for better conditions tomorrow in order to make full use of the extended track time available.

Toni Elias (11th 1'37.270): "I underwent an operation last week in Madrid and I've been having physiotherapy every morning and afternoon since then. I've improved a lot and even though I'm still not in good shape for riding today went much better than I expected. I don't have much strength in my right arm but it is not too painful -- other than my elbow, where the tendon is very sore. I'm doing what I can but because I can't push the bike to the limit it is hard to make an accurate evaluation of the set-up. We knew this would be a tough Grand Prix for us but the operation had to be done and we decided it was better to go through with it now rather than wait and continue having problems. I'm prepared to suffer this weekend, we'll get the best result we can and hopefully at Mugello I'll be more or less okay."

Alex De Angelis (16th; 1'38.323): "The timing of the rain was really bad, especially for me! We started out with the base setting I feel most comfortable with, which is the one we used at Qatar, and I was quite happy with that. Then I came in and swapped machines, with my second bike dialled in with the same settings as Jerez, but that didn't work. So I came back in to switch back to the first bike, which the guys had been making a couple of changes to in order to improve it further, and it started to rain so I didn't get chance to try it. It was a shame because I know I can go much faster here than today's lap time suggests."

Fausto Gresini - Team Manager: "After the operation Toni needs time to recover and obviously today it was important to take things steadily from the start. Over the first half an hour he spent time just getting used to everything and working out where he could push and where he couldn't, and then the rain came. Every day that goes by is better for him so hopefully he can be in improved shape tomorrow, although I'm happy with his effort today. Alex is obviously not in a great moment but we will do all we can to help him come through it."

-credit: gresini

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Toni Elias , Alex de Angelis