San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Toni Elias will start the final round of the 2009 MotoGP World Championship from the third row of the grid after qualifying eighth fastest on home territory at Valencia. The Spaniard dramatically improved his lap...
San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Toni Elias will start the final round of the 2009 MotoGP World Championship from the third row of the grid after qualifying eighth fastest on home territory at Valencia. The Spaniard dramatically improved his lap times by 1.4 seconds to move up six places on his free practice classification yesterday, whilst his consistency on race tyres has given the local fans real hope of a top result tomorrow.
It was a reverse scenario for his team-mate Alex de Angelis, who was amongst the frontrunners with the sixth fastest lap of yesterday's session but was unable to significantly improve his pace today. The San Marino rider, who like Elias will be making his final MotoGP appearance for the team tomorrow, qualified on the outside of the fourth row in twelfth place.
"That was much better and I actually think we could have even finished fifth or sixth this afternoon but it wasn't possible because of the amount of traffic out there at the end of the session -- it was more like a 125cc race! Having said that the position is good enough to allow us to fight for a good result tomorrow. I just need to get a good start and hope that the front group can throw me a line and pull me along for a few laps! The track has improved a lot since yesterday because it is cleaner but the wind was probably stronger today and even though it doesn't affect the MotoGP bikes as much as it does a 125 or 250 it is still a problem."
Alex De Angelis
"We didn't really manage to improve the lap times from the morning to the afternoon and we're starting quite far back on the grid. We're struggling to get the bike turning in the tight corners and we need to work on that overnight to try and find a better solution for tomorrow. Actually the tyres are working well now and my race pace is closer to the others than my qualifying time was so hopefully we can be in the mix tomorrow."
Fausto Gresini - Team Manager
"The third row for Toni isn't bad and he can have a good race tomorrow. It is an important race for everybody because it is the end of the season but for both our riders in particular because there is an opportunity there for either of them to take seventh in the championship, which wouldn't be an amazing result but an important one after a tough start to the season. In the second half of the championship the team have done a good job so let's see if we can finish it off in a good way tomorrow."