TOPSY TURVY DAY TWO FOR DE ANGELIS AND ELIAS AT SOAKING SACHSENRING Qualifying practice for the German Grand Prix was one of mixed fortunes for the San Carlo Honda Gresini team, who saw Alex de Angelis secure his best grid position of the season...
TOPSY TURVY DAY TWO FOR DE ANGELIS AND ELIAS AT SOAKING SACHSENRING
Qualifying practice for the German Grand Prix was one of mixed fortunes for the San Carlo Honda Gresini team, who saw Alex de Angelis secure his best grid position of the season so far in fifth place before crashing out, with Toni Elias also sliding off his bike in the torrentially wet conditions. This morning's final free practice session took place in dry conditions but a heavy downpour throughout the afternoon made for a dangerously slippery track surface for qualifying and De Angelis and Elias both suffered the consequences.
After lapping fifth fastest in a dry free practice yesterday afternoon De Angelis showed he has the pace for any condition today, topping the time sheets after twenty minutes of the soaking afternoon session. The San Marino rider looked set to challenge for a front row position before becoming one of seven riders to crash in the virtually flooded downhill turn eight. Elias had already been thrown from his Honda RC212V in the same corner, his bike running straight into the air fence at 142km/h but remarkably suffering no damage other than a slight scratch to the front fairing. Whilst Elias was able to return to the track on his second bike he was unable to improve his lap time and the Spaniard, who is battling the effects of a stomach bug, will start from the back of the grid tomorrow.
Alex De Angelis (5th; 1'34.490): "We started out really well and my lap times were good in the early part of the session, when we were using a tyre that we already put a few laps on yesterday. With a new tyre it was really hard to generate the heat to get it working at optimum temperature but gradually I started to feel better. Then unfortunately I crashed in the corner where everybody else went down too. It is never a nice feeling to crash but especially when I know that I could have made an attack at least for the front row. Anyway, fifth place is a fantastic result for us and if it rains again tomorrow then we're ideally placed. Even if it is dry we know we have a good starting position and good pace for what I hope can be my best race of the season."
Toni Elias (17th 1'36.531): "I didn't feel as comfortable today as I did yesterday in the wet or the dry. Track temperature was 15C lower and I really felt the difference. It was taking too long to get any heat into the tyre and even when I did the feeling wasn't there. It wasn't a good day and it finished off with a crash, which I was lucky to come away from without any injury. I'd had a few warnings beforehand, the bike was sliding around in a lot of places, and then I lost control and the next thing I knew I was laying on top of the bike like I was sunbathing or something! It's funny to watch on television but I can assure you it wasn't so funny for me. Hopefully the fans get chance to sunbathe tomorrow because we need a dry race. I'm starting from last place so it will be a tough race for sure. My only option is to fight and pass as many people as I can. Let's hope we have the conditions and a set-up that allows me to do so."
Fausto Gresini - Team Manager: "It was a difficult session for everybody today and we're lucky that both our riders escaped uninjured from potentially dangerous crashes. It was also good that the air fences did such a great job because it has definitely saved our mechanics some work tonight! It is great to see Alex back up his pace in the dry with a performance we all know he is capable of in the wet. Both our riders struggled to get heat into the rear tyre, especially Toni, so that is something we need to work on for tomorrow but it is impossible to predict anything until we see what the conditions are like for the race."
-credit: gresini racing