UNLUCKY ELIAS MISSES FRONT ROW OPPORTUNITY AT MUGELLO San Carlo Honda Gresini Team rider Toni Elias missed out on the opportunity to start tomorrow's Italian Grand Prix from the front of the grid after a crash on a potential front row lap in the...
UNLUCKY ELIAS MISSES FRONT ROW OPPORTUNITY AT MUGELLO
San Carlo Honda Gresini Team rider Toni Elias missed out on the opportunity to start tomorrow's Italian Grand Prix from the front of the grid after a crash on a potential front row lap in the dying stages of this afternoon's qualifying session. Elias was within striking distance of Jorge Lorenzo's pole time through the first split of his first flying lap but his effort turned to dust with a high-speed crash in T2. Thankfully Elias, who was fourth fastest in this morning's final free practice, escaped without injury and still qualified ninth on the grid, giving himself every chance of a strong challenge in tomorrow's mouth-watering 23-lap race.
Alex de Angelis will start from just behind his Spanish team-mate on the fourth row of the grid after setting the twelfth fastest time. The San Marinese was also left to rue what might have been after qualifying less than half a second slower than the rider in eighth place on the grid.
Toni Elias (9th 1'50.078): "Overall I'm happy because we've improved the bike a lot here, we're on the right lines and my pace is good. I'm also pleased because on the lap I set my qualifying time on this afternoon I was riding alone, whereas this morning I set my best time following Lorenzo. The crash was a shame because I was following Valentino and through the first split we were 0.00 seconds down on pole. I felt like it was going to be a great lap! The problem is that when you know things are improving and you feel good, you can get a little excited! That's what happened to me and I was too aggressive with the bike, which caused the crash. Anyway, the good thing is that despite the crash my next best time was still good enough for ninth on the grid and if I can get a good start tomorrow I think we can have a great race. I'll be aggressive in the race too but not too much!"
Alex De Angelis (12th; 1'50.448): "I don't think we could have gone much faster than that but the gap to the riders just ahead of me is quite small so it's a shame we couldn't just manage a little more and gained some positions. Anyway, we've got a good chance for tomorrow because my pace on race tyres is good -- good enough for a top ten finish, which would be really important to us. The races are always tough here because of the heat and the physical nature of the track but also because the riders push to the limit from the first lap to the last. There really is no respite and it looks like it's going to be a close one tomorrow. As always I'm ready to fight and do my best but the important thing is to finish the race with a good result for the team in their home Grand Prix."
Fausto Gresini - Team Manager: "It was a shame about Toni's crash because he was right on the pace through the first split and then in the second split he got really close to Valentino, got a little over-confident and lost the front. It was his first flying lap and maybe the tyre wasn't quite up to the perfect temperature. Anyway, we're happy with his set-up and if he can ride with Valentino around this track then it shows he is in good shape for tomorrow. Ninth place isn't a bad position here because it's a long drag to turn one and he is in the right place to pass people on the brakes. The start will be crucial. Alex showed some good things this morning but didn't have a great session in the afternoon so hopefully we'll find what we're looking for in the warm-up tomorrow. It would be great to pick up two positive results for everybody at Gresini Racing and Honda Italia."
-credit: gresini racing