ELIAS AND DE ANGELIS BATTLE IT OUT FOR POINTS AT LE MANS San Carlo Honda Gresini Team riders Toni Elias and Alex de Angelis were involved in an exciting head to head battle for points in the Grand Prix de France, with the Spaniard fighting...
ELIAS AND DE ANGELIS BATTLE IT OUT FOR POINTS AT LE MANS
San Carlo Honda Gresini Team riders Toni Elias and Alex de Angelis were involved in an exciting head to head battle for points in the Grand Prix de France, with the Spaniard fighting through the pain of thirty stitches in his right forearm to come out on top and take tenth place, with the San Marinese holding off the challenge of Nicky Hayden in a close fight for eleventh.
It has been a tough weekend for both riders, Elias because of the obvious discomfort caused by a recent operation to cure arm-pump and De Angelis having struggled to find a set-up in the limited track time afforded by the changeable French weather. Both riders are now looking forward to a short rest before the MotoGP World Championship continues with round five, the San Carlo Honda Gresini Team's home race at Mugello, Italy, on 31st May.
Toni Elias (10th): "I'm sure that was a fun race for the fans to watch with the pit stops and bike changes but it was a tough one for us! I got a good start in the wet but I didn't feel too comfortable in those conditions so I was lucky that it dried out. We did a good job changing bikes and I think I was one of the fastest, if not the fastest, to change. It took us a while to get the slick tyre up to temperature and the first four or five laps were really tricky but then I got into my rhythm, even though I was struggling a lot with the lack of power in my arm. I had to fight really hard to hold off the challenge of De Angelis and Hayden -- I thought they might get the better of me but in the end they didn't! In my current physical state I couldn't have hoped for a much better result than this but we have to kick on and improve from here. In Mugello I'll be much better and in the right shape for what we hope will be a turning point for us."
Alex De Angelis (11th): "After struggling to find a set-up here all weekend we went for something radically different in the race today and overall it was pretty good. I struggled a little bit when it was wet at the beginning of the race and then when we changed to slicks I had a few big moments and almost crashed. I was taking a lot of risks to keep my pace up and then when we got more heat into the tyre I was able to set a good pace. Basically the race ended up to be better than I was expecting but we can still do much better than this so that is the target for the next race at Mugello."
Fausto Gresini - Team Manager: "It was a tough race for everybody in those conditions but especially for Toni after the operation. He really went through the pain barrier today and battled hard to make it to the finish. We're not making any excuses -- the only goal for us is to improve and score better results than this, results that reflect the true potential of Toni, this team and Honda. Alex had a close race with Toni but he can also do better than eleventh place. Mugello is more suited to him and he has gone well there in the past so we have to look the future positive. We have to work hard but I think Mugello can be much better for us. "