PODIUM FINISH IS THE TARGET AT Valencia After Marco Melandri's stunning podium at the Malaysian Grand Prix and a return to form for sixth-placed Toni Elias, who put together an incredible fight-back despite the torrid conditions at Sepang, the...
PODIUM FINISH IS THE TARGET AT Valencia
After Marco Melandri's stunning podium at the Malaysian Grand Prix and a return to form for sixth-placed Toni Elias, who put together an incredible fight-back despite the torrid conditions at Sepang, the Team Honda Gresini riders head to the final round at Valencia this weekend looking for a positive end to their eight-month adventure.
After seventeen races mixed with satisfaction and disappointment the riders know they have always given their best -- from Elias's second place in the third round of the season in Turkey to Melandri's identical result in the last race in Malaysia. As usual, the Grand Prix of Valencia is the point where one season ends and another starts, with the teams already preparing to open their 2008 testing programme just days after the race.
Team Honda Gresini have decided to turn a new page in their history after three years with Marco Melandri and two with Toni Elias -- each of them filled with excitement and great satisfaction. Next season will see the arrival of youth in the shape of MotoGP rookie Alex de Angelis, 23, and experience in Shinya Nakano, entering his second season with Honda.
The objective for Melandri and Elias this weekend is a return to the podium and another good result to end the season. Marco has the additional target of defending fourth place in the championship whilst Toni merely wants to put on a top performance in front of his home crowd.
MARCO MELANDRI: "I'd like to finish off the season with another good result. I've got some great memories of this circuit, especially my victory there in 2005. Second place in Malaysia at a circuit where I've never scored good results in the past and where it looked as though the characteristics of the track would not suit my bike or riding style have given me an extra boost. The package of bike and tyres worked perfectly there and I'm confident. My aim is to confirm fourth place in the championship and give Fausto and the team one last reason to celebrate after three great years together."
TONI ELIAS: "I can't wait to race in front of my home fans for the third time this season. The backing of the Spanish fans always gives me an extra push and I usually need it at this circuit because it isn't amongst my favourites, with its twisty layout and lack of fast sections. I don't like the track but that's not a problem because I am racing in Spain and the atmosphere will be incredible with that level of support. Hopefully we can work well all weekend and get in the right shape to put on another good show."
THE TRACK: Designed as a circuit within a stadium, giving spectators a view of virtually the entire track, Valencia always features an incredible atmosphere, with record attendances year on year. Organisers are predicting another big crowd to match the one that witnessed last season's historic title-deciding climax.