After a disappointing Moto2 weekend at Phillip Island, where Toni Elias was unable to mark his recently won title with another victory, the Spaniard returned to a hero’s welcome in his hometown of Manresa this week.
Despite the best efforts of the Moto2 team, a mystery problem with the gearbox electronics hindered his chances in Australia, which was a shame because Elias’s Moriwaki was handling perfectly.
It was only his trademark determination and a stunning last lap of the Moto2 race that prevented Elias from finishing any lower than seventh. At Estoril Elias is hoping to rediscover his best Moto2 form, which took him to MotoGP victory at this circuit in 2006, when he beat Valentino Rossi by just 0.002 seconds following a heart-stopping final lap.
Toni Elias (Gresini Racing Moto2) says: “It was a difficult weekend at Phillip Island because we were held back by a mystery gearbox problem. The team worked really hard to fix it but the problem persisted throughout the race. It was a shame because I had a great feeling with the bike but couldn’t make the most of it.”
“I was disappointed after the race but also happy because I still had a good race and a great last lap. I am sure we will make up for it at Estoril, where I took a MotoGP win that will forever remain in my heart. After the celebrations that were put on for me in my home town of Manresa I want to do the title justice in Portugal. I want to do the thing I was unable to do in Australia and I will tackle it with the same determination as always and with the continued support of a fantastic Moto2 team.”
Vladimir Ivanov (Gresini Racing Moto2) says: “Since my injury I have struggled to perform well. In Australia I thought I could do it but I had the same gearbox problems as Elias. I don’t know if I could have done much better without this problem but the fact is I need to get back to the form I was showing before the injury, starting this weekend at Estoril.”
Fausto Gresini (Gresini Racing Moto2 Owner) says: “We definitely could have done better in Australia but we ended up chasing our tail with the gearbox problems. The team worked really hard with the help of the guys from Geo Technology, who look after the Moto2 engines, but we didn’t manage to solve the problems.”
“It is imperative we do so at Estoril because we want to give Elias a bike he can perform to his maximum on and do the title justice. Elias deserves that because even with the problems in Australia he showed courage and determination to score a positive result with an incredible last lap. We want to finish off this fantastic season in style.”