Czech GP: Gresini Racing Saturday notes

ELIAS READY FOR RACE RETURN BUT MELANDRI RULED OUT It will be a bittersweet day for Team Honda Gresini tomorrow as the team look forward to seeing Toni Elias return to action after missing three races with a broken femur but with Marco Melandri...

ELIAS READY FOR RACE RETURN BUT MELANDRI RULED OUT

It will be a bittersweet day for Team Honda Gresini tomorrow as the team look forward to seeing Toni Elias return to action after missing three races with a broken femur but with Marco Melandri missing after the Italian picked up an unexpected injury during practice.

Marco suffered an exposed discal hernia between the C5 and C6 vertebrae when exiting a corner in free practice yesterday morning. After undergoing intense physiotherapy since then he was hoping to at least take part in this afternoon's qualifying session but the pain was too intense and he will now be forced to wait and hope for a return in the next round at Misano on September 2. He will undergo further examination on Tuesday in Italy before the full rehabilitation programme is established.

The bright side for the team has been the performance of Elias, who fought through his own physical problems to qualify in 14th place for tomorrow's race.

TONI ELIAS (14th, 1'58"264): "I'm quite satisfied because even though I'm capable of a much better result I couldn't ask for much more from my body today. The pain in my leg is getting worse and I think it will be a tough race tomorrow. Today we tried a few different things and I didn't do more than four laps at a time to try not to force it but there are 22 laps to get through tomorrow. Anyway, I'm quite satisfied and I have to treat this whole weekend as a test."

MARCO MELANDRI: "I'm really disappointed to pull out -- in my head I wanted to get back on track but the pain was just too much. Just the sheer force of the wind under braking pushes the nerve out of position and that takes away all the strength and feeling from my arm. They've tried everything at the Clinica but it hasn't worked. On Tuesday I'll see a specialist and we'll decide what is the best way to fix it. Hopefully I can be fit for Misano, which is an important race for the team because the base is so close to the track."

-credit: gr

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Series MotoGP
Drivers Marco Melandri , Toni Elias