US GP: Gresini Racing Friday practice report

ELIAS AND DE ANGELIS MAKE POSITIVE START AT LAGUNA SECA Just six days after the Dutch TT at Assen the MotoGP World Championship circus continued apace today, some 10,000 kilometres away from Holland at the Laguna Circuit in California. Free ...

ELIAS AND DE ANGELIS MAKE POSITIVE START AT LAGUNA SECA

Just six days after the Dutch TT at Assen the MotoGP World Championship circus continued apace today, some 10,000 kilometres away from Holland at the Laguna Circuit in California. Free practice for the USGP proved to be the best opening session to a Grand Prix so far this season for the San Carlo Honda Gresini team, with Toni Elias amongst the frontrunners as he set the fifth fastest time and his team-mate Alex de Angelis rounding out the top ten.

Elias made an impressive start and was in the 1'23s on his first run, making two pit-stops as he adjusted the base setting of his factory spec. RC212V machine and briefly leading the time sheets as he eventually broke into the 1'22s. De Angelis worked diligently on ironing out front-end problems suffered during the race at Assen before himself breaking into the top ten with a lap made all the more impressive by the fact that it was set on a used front tyre and a hard compound rear. As such, the San Marino rider is confident that a few set-up tweaks overnight can help him make an even stronger challenge in tomorrow's final free practice and qualifying sessions.

Toni Elias (5th 1'22.682): "We're happy to have started the weekend in this way. We know everybody will go faster tomorrow and we'll have to wait and see how much margin for improvement we have but for now it is important to start like this because so far this year at every circuit we've had a bad first practice. We've made some pretty major adjustments to the suspension here because this is a very aggressive circuit in that respect, in terms of the elevation changes, the bumps and the hard-braking areas, and we need to improve it even more tomorrow if we are to keep pace with the others. Tomorrow I'll be working with two identical chasses for the first time and that will be important if we want to try something radical because we can quickly revert to a setting we know is working. Hopefully that can help us improve more than usual in the time available."

Alex De Angelis (10th; 1'23.406): "I did my fastest time at the end of the session on the harder tyre and the track temperature today probably wasn't as hot as it could be, so I'm really pleased. We have worked a lot today on the problem I had in the race at Assen, which was with the front folding, and I think the fact I spent the whole session today on the same front tyre without virtually any trouble shows that we've made some good decisions. We still have to work the set-up of the bike around the intricacies of this circuit but to have set the tenth fastest time on a used front tyre and a hard rear -- I have to be happy with that. We've also worked a lot on rear traction since the Barcelona test and whilst the front guys clearly have a bit more than us in this aspect we're getting closer. This circuit in particular is a place that gets grippier as the weekend goes on so hopefully we can make more improvements tomorrow."

Fausto Gresini - Team Manager: "This is the first race this year where we've had a good first day and I'm happy because at least this way we can work in a focused manner with clear objectives. We're quite close to the front guys -- just over half a second is a 'normal' gap -- and to have both our guys in the top ten is an encouraging start. I have to compliment the whole team and the riders today because they've all done a good job today."

-credit: gresini

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Toni Elias , Alex de Angelis