FRUSTRATING WEEKEND EXTENDS TO RACE FOR ELIAS AND DE ANGELIS There proved to be no silver lining to the clouds that have hung over Motegi for the San Carlo Honda Gresini Team today as a frustrating rain-hit weekend ended disappointment in...
FRUSTRATING WEEKEND EXTENDS TO RACE FOR ELIAS AND DE ANGELIS
There proved to be no silver lining to the clouds that have hung over Motegi for the San Carlo Honda Gresini Team today as a frustrating rain-hit weekend ended disappointment in today's race. Toni Elias crashed out of eighth place just as he was making progress on the sixth lap, recovering to take a single point in fifteenth, two positions behind his team-mate Alex de Angelis, who struggled with rear grip issues throughout the race.
Elias made a steady start from ninth on the grid and was holding a position inside the top ten over the opening laps as he waited for his tyres to heat up. As soon as grip levels rose, the combative Spaniard began to make his move, passing Loris Capirossi and James Toseland on consecutive laps before closing the gap to Marco Melandri. However, taking a wide line into the hairpin before the back straight, Elias ran across a dirty section of track and both tyres lost grip as he braked into the corner, causing a low speed crash. De Angelis held firm in twelfth place for much of the race before being passed by Colin Edwards three laps from the end.
Alex De Angelis (13th): "We had some problems on Friday and missed our only opportunity to get the bike set up for dry conditions, which was an unfortunate circumstance that we paid the price for today. I went for a hard front and rear tyre but it clearly didn't work with the set-up we had and I had no feeling from the tyres or the suspension today. There was a group of four riders fighting in front of me and I was desperate to get involved in the battle but I lost the rear a couple of times so finally decided to give up the chase. Three points isn't much but it's better than nothing."
Toni Elias (15th): "I'm very disappointed. I was struggling a little over the opening couple of laps but by lap three I started to feel good and I was able to start making up positions. I caught the group that Melandri and Vermeulen were in but just when I had done all the hard work I had a stupid crash. I got on the dirty part on the outside of the track and lost grip on the front and rear under braking. That's the most disappointing thing because I had the opportunity to pick up some important points and I threw it away. Looking at the positives, I finished the race and picked up a point, which is something, and we have improved the bike here, which should help us in future races. "
Fausto Gresini - Team Manager: "There's not much to say - today has gone very badly for us. Toni got off to a good start. He was waiting for a while at the start because with the harder compound he has to wait for a few laps for it to get up to temperature but then he was making good progress until he ran off line and crashed. It's a shame because I think he would have got better as the race went on and could have challenged for a top result. We hoped Alex would do well on the harder tyre but unfortunately he never found enough grip and couldn't even match his pace from Friday. It's a lesson learned and I hope we can come out stronger for it next time."
-credit: gresini racing