TONI ELIAS BACK ON TRACK AT BRNO JUST 51 DAYS AFTER ASSEN CRASH Just 51 days after his crash at Assen, where he broke his left femur, Gresini Honda rider Toni Elias returned to the track today at Brno to take part in the first practice sessions...
TONI ELIAS BACK ON TRACK AT BRNO JUST 51 DAYS AFTER ASSEN CRASH
Just 51 days after his crash at Assen, where he broke his left femur, Gresini Honda rider Toni Elias returned to the track today at Brno to take part in the first practice sessions for the Czech Republic Grand Prix.
After missing races at Sachsenring and Laguna Seca, Elias was able to complete 16 laps this morning and 19 this afternoon, when he lapped fourteenth fastest.
The demanding Brno circuit, characterised by quick direction changes, proved to be a tough test for Marco Melandri, who himself is recovering from an ankle fracture sustained during practice at the USGP.
Marco Melandri took things easy in the morning, covering just 18 laps, but suffered severe pain in the neck and his left shoulder when exiting a left-hand corner and was forced to return to the box. After a visit to the Clinica Mobile his condition improved but he was unable to ride in the afternoon.
TONI ELIAS (14th, 2'00"271): "I'm really happy to be back on track and back with the team. When I crashed I immediately set Brno as my objective and I've worked hard since then, 7-8 hours a day, to make sure I was ready. I'm obviously not at 100%, probably only 60%, but I'm really motivated. This is a kind of test for me and I rode in the morning and afternoon without really pushing. It went better than I expected. This is a physically demanding circuit because there are so many changes in direction. My leg is really sore but I'm riding with a speical protector which is elastic on the inside and carbon on the outside. I'm also adapting to the changes to the bike -- we've got a new frame, new exhaust and some engine updates. I'm looking forward to the rest of the weekend now. I've won my first battle, which was to get back on the bike here at Brno."
MARCO MELANDRI: "I felt confident when I went out on the bike this morning. The foot was sore, especially in the left-handers, but I rode carefully. Then I suddenly felt a shooting pain in my neck and left shoulder and lost all the strength in my arm and hand. I had to come into the pits and I went straight to the clinic. Thanks to the doctors the situation is better although I couldn't ride in the afternoon. Hopefully I'll be ok tomorrow."