Nieto and Elías: Another race spent charging through the pack at the Sachsenring
The two riders of the Repsol Telefónica Movistar team, Fonsi Nieto and Toni Elías, were once again the ´comeback kings´ last Sunday; a specialist, exciting but probably less than desirable niche they have carved for themselves.
At the Sachsenring, while Fonsi Nieto emerged at the front of the race with the leaders after a fast exit from the track midway through the duration, his team-mate Elías was cutting his own way up the order from last position. The young Catalan had to start from the rear of the pack after his machine developed mechanical problems on the warm-up lap forcing him to pull into the pitlane, changed bikes and join the fray from back. He was quick to recover ground on the group and began a long race from the first lap.
He completed the opening circulation in 14th and picked his way up to 7th. A few laps from the end his work wasn't quite finished after he was overtaken by Manuel Poggiali. The Championship leader made his move after a slow crash earlier in the race but Elias replied with a bold move on the final few turns to hang onto seventh place.
`I left the pit box to circle the track and come round to the grid and I noticed something was not right,´ Elias explained. `I decided to use the second bike, but this meant I had to start the warm-up lap from the pit-lane and join the back of the grid. I started well and began to take positions straightaway. It was a really hard race and I had to fight a lot. I struggled just as much for seventh position as I would to get on the podium. In the last corner I tried as hard as I could against Poggiali and held on for seventh. I showed that I never throw in the towel and now I need to find a good set-up for the bike that lets me fight for the win.´
Both Elias and Nieto seem to have become experts at delivering thrilling race performances that create memorable GPs. Their fans and supporters will recall several instances fondly, like Nieto last year in Estoril, when he won the Portuguese GP despite crashing in the rain and keeping the bike running while spinning on the asphalt. More recently at the GP held in Jerez back in May, Elías (still with an injured hand) had the public on their feet when he passed three riders in the final laps to win his first GP of the season.