DE ANGELIS AND ELIAS IN LINE FOR QATAR BATTLE San Carlo Honda Gresini Team rider Alex De Angelis will start directly in front of his team-mate Toni Elias in the Grand Prix of Qatar after the pair qualified in ninth and twelfth position ...
DE ANGELIS AND ELIAS IN LINE FOR QATAR BATTLE
San Carlo Honda Gresini Team rider Alex De Angelis will start directly in front of his team-mate Toni Elias in the Grand Prix of Qatar after the pair qualified in ninth and twelfth position respectively today. The opening round of the 2009 MotoGP World Championship will take place under the spectacular floodlights of the Losail International Circuit tomorrow night with De Angelis and Elias both promising a battling display from the outside of the third and fourth rows of the grid. Tonight's qualifying session was the first to be run without 'qualifying' tyres although a bizarre spell of light desert rainfall shortly before the 11pm session left the track surface slick and dirty, meaning the softer compound race tyres available to the riders would only last for a handful of laps. It made for an exciting spectacle as the riders jostled for grid positions, few of them able to make major improvements on their free practice pace but De Angelis amongst the most impressive performers as he knocked almost 1.5 seconds off his previous best to move up the order. Elias made some improvements to his set-up but wasn't able to find a solution to the issues he suffered with his electronic package yesterday and he will have to rely largely on his gritty race pedigree in tomorrow's 22-lap battle.
Alex De Angelis (9th 1'56.790): "I think we're in good shape to have a really good race tomorrow. I don't think we're quite on the pace to be fighting for the podium but we can definitely be in the running for a top result. I'm really pleased with the race setting but on the softer tyre when we went for a quick lap time the tyre started to lose grip after just a few corners and I wasn't able to make the most of it. If we can get a little more grip from the rear on the harder compound that would be great too and that's what we'll work on in the warm-up. Anyway, a third-row start should give me the opportunity to have a nice race and I'm ready for the battle! "
Toni Elias (12th; 1'57.225): "We don't like to be so far back on the grid but this is where we're, we have to accept it, we have to keep working and we have to stay calm. The good thing is that we've knocked a second off the lap times from yesterday thanks to an improvement in the cycle part of the bike, even though we didn't take the step forward with the electronics that I was hoping for. It's going to be difficult to make that improvement in time for the race tomorrow but like I said yesterday we have to be patient and if it doesn't come now then it will come in the next race or the one after that. I've been in this position before and it's tough. We're starting from twelfth on the grid and the reality is that it's a fair reflection of where we stand right now. My job tomorrow is to get a good start and fight as hard as I can."
Fausto Gresini - Team Manager: "I was hoping for better than this today after Alex's great start yesterday. Toni has struggled all weekend and we've got work to do tomorrow to try and find solutions for both of them ahead of the race if we can. It's going to be a tough race for us tomorrow but we just have to try and do our best. We're a little behind the top guys but on the harder tyre there is a big group of riders who are very close together and I think it could be an interesting race."