Toni Elias is targeting another visit to the top step of the motorcycle racing podium in France this weekend as he nears a return to full fitness following his early season injuries and operations.
The Spaniard took the racing victory in his home race at Jerez three weeks ago to complete a remarkable turnaround and he is keen to establish himself as the man to beat in Moto2 as the season enters its busiest phase.
Elias has found an optimum feeling with the team and with the Moriwaki MD600 and although a test planned for before this race was unable to go ahead the Manresa man, who could take the series lead with victory this weekend, remains confident of making further steps forward.
Progress also remains the key word for Vladimir Ivanov, who was the first to congratulate his team-mate on that victory at Jerez.
Toni Elias says: "The win at Jerez in front of my home fans made me so happy. It was an amazing feeling to be back on the top step of the podium and I have thought back to the emotions I experienced up there and on that exciting final lap on more than one occasion over the past couple of weeks. To win at Jerez in front of that unique crowd is like nothing else. It was also a good feeling for me to win again for Team Gresini, who I celebrated my only MotoGP win to date with at Estoril in 2006."
"It has been important for me to have a couple of weeks off and continue my recuperation – I have been able to start training on a bicycle and I feel much better even though I am still not at 100%. We go to Le Mans determined to do well and to enjoy ourselves. Myself, the team and Moriwaki are convinced that we can keep this good form going. We are working well and together we have found a good feeling for our MD600."
"Le Mans is a difficult circuit due to its characteristics, with lots of hard braking and acceleration, but it suits my style. I took my first ever podium there in 125 and won races in 250 so I´d love to do that again in Moto2. It is not an easy class to win in but I´ll be giving 100% to do so again."
Vladimir Ivanov says: "I took another small step forward at Jerez and I was very satisfied at the end of the race. I am gathering more and more confidence and every time I take to the track I learn something. Obviously we are still some way off scoring our first points but I am confident we can do it soon."
"I would have preferred to be racing again immediately after Jerez as opposed to waiting three weeks but that´s the way the calendar is. I don´t know Le Mans but a lot of the circuits we´ll be racing on this year are new to me so I´ll just have to get used to it. I hope to take another step forward in France – I know it won´t be easy but I´ll be trying my hardest for myself and for Team Gresini, who are helping me a lot."
Fausto Gresini says: "The win for Elias at Jerez filled me with joy. Celebrating like that again with a rider who forms part of this team´s history made it an important day for us. We were hoping to get some testing done after that race but unfortunately it wasn´t possible."
"Now we go to Le Mans, which is a difficult track but where we once again hope to be amongst the frontrunners of a combative and competitive field. Moto2 is proving very popular and we´re enjoying it – the racing is close and there are lots of candidates for each victory, which is great."
"It is not easy to win in Moto2 so that just makes the satisfaction even greater. To do it with Toni is extraordinary."