“The team did a great job”
It proved to be a tough home Grand Prix for Team Honda Gresini at Mugello, in particular for local rider Marco Melandri, who was unable to get the best out of his bike in the race despite a great start from the second row.
to third place in the early stages but ran into problems after just a few laps and was unable to maintain the pace of the lead group.
There was a positive side to the day though for the team as Melandri's team-mate Toni Elias mounted a superb charge from the fifth row of the grid to finish sixth. Toni can now look forward to his home race next weekend with renewed optimism as the Grand Prix circus heads to the Catalunya Circuit, just a few kilometres from the Honda Gresini man's home.
TONI ELIAS (6th in the race, 8th in the championship on 45 points):
“Sixth place at Mugello is a good result, especially having started from fifteenth. The team did a great job and in the warm-up we took a big step forward with the set-up. I got a good start and tried to make up position but unfortunately the front tyre choice was a little too soft for today's track conditions and after a few laps I couldn't push as hard as I wanted to. I'm happy though and I'm looking forward to racing in front of my home fans in Barcelona next Sunday.”
MARCO MELANDRI (9th in the race, 4th in the championship on 68 points):
“I got a good start and I was flying over the first few laps but then I started to struggle.
The bike was skipping around and from being in third place I dropped back to ninth. I'm disappointed because this is a special race for me. We've had this problem to a varying degree since the start of the season and at the moment we can't come up with a solution.”
“I'm happy for Toni because he put together a great fightback and got the maximum performance out of the material he had at his disposition this weekend. I feel sorry for Marco because I thought he was all set for a top race and it looked that way after a couple of laps but he ran into some difficulties that didn't allow him to fight for the result he deserved.”