The MotoGP World Championship paddock returns to Europe this weekend for the final event on the 2009 calendar, the Gran Premio Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana. A firecracker atmosphere awaits the teams and riders on their return from a ...
The MotoGP World Championship paddock returns to Europe this weekend for the final event on the 2009 calendar, the Gran Premio Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana. A firecracker atmosphere awaits the teams and riders on their return from a transcontinental expedition to Australia and Malaysia, which has seen San Carlo Honda Gresini riders Alex de Angelis and Toni Elias draw level in the championship standings on 105 points, tied for ninth place but just three points shy of seventh.
A top seven finish in the championship is a source of huge motivation for both riders as they make their final MotoGP appearance for the team before moving on in search of a new challenge. The pair will certainly not be short of support from their technical staff, who have put all their effort and resources into helping them make a competitive finish to the season and will continue to do so until the chequered flag is waved on Sunday. The Ricardo Tormo circuit is notoriously tight and slow but its stadium-style architecture lends itself to a unique atmosphere that will ensure that the 2009 season will get a fittingly fanatical farewell from around 130,000 vociferous spectators. The home support will provide an extra boost for Elias, who is targeting a repeat of his podium finishes here in the 250cc class in both 2003 and 2004, whilst De Angelis took his first and to date only Grand Prix victory at this track, also in the 250cc class, back in 2006.
# 15 ALEX DE ANGELIS
"It is a circuit where a strong engine is not fundamental, because there are few places where you hit high speeds, but you do need to have a bike that handles well in slow corners and this is an area we have struggled with this season. It is a tricky track for a rider and I remember at the start of my career I struggled to get to grips with it. However, over the last few years the situation has changed and I have been strong there, even winning the 250cc race in 2006, so hopefully that can give us a strong base to build from on Friday. It will be a sad day for me because it will be my last race with the team, which is disappointing because we have had a strong second half to the season. Anyway, we will keep fighting to the end and do everything we can to take seventh in the championship. In racing you never know what is around the corner!"
# 24 TONI ELIAS
"Australia and Malaysia were not perfect for us but the important thing is that we arrive back in Europe still in a strong position in the championship and with a good opportunity to improve on it in more 'normal' conditions. We have had difficulty all year with rear traction and on paper Valencia is not an ideal circuit for us but I hope my knowledge of the track and the home support can really help us. If we can make a strong start on Friday then we have every reason to be confident. It is the last race of the season and I am sure the atmosphere will be incredible, so hopefully I can give my fans and my team something to celebrate on Sunday night."
"It is nice to be back in Europe, working in more 'normal' conditions and with our trucks and full technical back-up. It has been a long season but the results have been good since the middle of the summer and we want to continue this positive trend until the end of the race on Sunday. Both riders will get our full support, as they have done all season, and we want to see them finish on a high. Seventh place in the championship is up for grabs and that would be a great result for either rider considering the way the season started. It should be another exciting weekend but our job is to be ready to work hard and stay focused from the first practice on Friday."
-credit: gresini racing