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Toni Elías: Victory in the face of adversity

Toni Elías: Victory in the face of adversity

Toni Elías: Victory in the face of adversity

The Estoril circuit continues to provide good memories for the Repsol Telefónica MoviStar team. Still relatively fresh in the mind is the crash and impressive comeback in heavy rain from Fonis Nieto and now Toni Elías is the rider who turned a difficult situation on its head to notch one of the best race performances of his career.

The Spaniard at one stage was looking doubtful for the race after a crash during free practice on Saturday through no fault of his own. From the hospital to the podium in 24 hours, the recovery of Elias bought back visions and had a similar impact to his charge to victory in the GP at Jerez several months ago. In Spain, after undergoing an operation only a few days before and using a light cast and measures to protect the wound, he produced a sublime ride to claim his first win of 2003. Two weeks later he triumphed again, this time at Le Mans and was situated second in the Championship, five points from leader Manuel Poggiali. Yesterday, and after seven long GPs, he returned to the standing but now trailing his fellow Aprilia rider by 14 points. Here the youngster gives his impressions of a successful weekend:

`My head hurts and I feel a little sick but I am so happy with this result. I suppose that this effect will be normal after a big crash. Saturday was a pretty bad day and I had quite a scare. I could have kept the pole position because the other riders were not really lowering their times. The important thing was that I could still take part in the race and that is mainly due to the doctors in the Clinca Mobile. I had an uncomfortable night but in the warm-up I saw that I could still ride fast even though my rhythm was a little out of sorts because I found it hard to concentrate. I am really chuffed because I wanted so much to win another race. Now I am second in the Championship and this is a very positive situation for me."

250cc, 2003

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