Toni Elias and Alex De Angelis will contest the final British Grand Prix at Donington Park tomorrow before the event moves to Silverstone in 2010, the San Carlo Honda Team riders starting from the third and fourth rows of the grid respectively.
After a virtually redundant
opening free practice yesterday due to the mixed weather, bright sunshine throughout today afforded the riders two full hours to work on their set-up for tomorrow's race.
Elias showed his potential in the final free practice this morning as he lapped sixth fastest before stepping up his pace in the afternoon, shaving almost a second off his lap time but dropping a couple of positions in an ultra-competitive finale to the qualifying session, eventually sealing a useful eighth place.
“I'm pretty happy. Obviously I would have preferred to be on the second row and I think we were capable of that today but the third row isn't bad. It is certainly a big improvement on Germany a week ago, where I started last!”, he said. “We started out well this morning and improved the setting of the bike even more this afternoon. I feel comfortable, my rhythm is good so the target for tomorrow has to be to get a good start and try to stick with the front group for the whole race.”
De Angelis was less than half a second off the pace of his team-mate, most of which he lost in the final, slow section of the circuit, and he will work on improving that area of his performance in tomorrow morning's warm-up before starting the 30-lap race from twelfth position.
“We're having a problem in the slow section, which we expected after Sachsenring. Basically the bike wants to wheelie out of the slow corners and obviously with the chicane, followed by the two hairpins in that last section, that is where we are losing time”, he explained. “I got behind Lorenzo for a lap today and was able to follow him all the way around until that part, where he disappeared! If we can just sort the set-up out for those last two corners we will be ready – if not for the same result as Sachsenring then something close to it. If it's dry that will be the target. If it is wet, I was constantly in the top eight yesterday in those conditions so there's no reason why we couldn't repeat that.”