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Gresini team relishing the heat of the battle

Gresini team relishing the heat of the battle

San Carlo Honda Gresini riders Alex de Angelis and Shinya Nakano both head to Malaysia looking for more valuable World Championship points.

Adjusting to the heat and humidity of Malaysia after the rainy, windy and eventually cool sunny conditions of Australia´s Phillip Island is the task at hand for all the World Championship participants this week and the San Carlo Honda Gresini team are keen to prove that they are up to the task.

As they head into their last two races as team-mates Gresini duo Alex de Angelis and Shinya Nakano will both be looking for a good points haul at Sepang, with De Angelis struggling for results and looking to follow the example of Nakano´s recent good form.

Returning to the scene of intense winter testing San Marino rookie De Angelis is looking forward to the rare chance of starting a weekend with prior set-up data to fall back on.

With two DNFs and only one top ten finish from his last four races De Angelis hopes that things will improve on the South East Asian trip, saying, `I always went well in Malaysia in the 250cc class and I´ve finished on the podium there several times, so I think I can also do a good job in MotoGP. There are some flowing, technical sections where we have the potential to be strong.´

He continued, `I´d love to pick up some good results over these final two races and finish my rookie season in a positive way. Unfortunately we´ve paid the price this year for not qualifying well but I´m still pleased with the pace we´ve found in practice at every round because we have been consistently fast.´

For Nakano, however, Sepang represents the opportunity to put himself in the shop window again with no ride for 2009 yet confirmed and Toni Elias certain to replace him in the San Carlo Honda Gresini set-up. With a respectable eighth place at his home race in Japan followed up by an excellent top five finish in Australia the 31 year-old hits Malaysia in a confident mood.

`We all know Sepang really well because we do so much testing there during the winter,´ said the experienced Japanese rider, who won the 250cc 2000 Malaysian Grand Prix race.

Referring to his summer move from a satellite RC212V onto the factory spec version he continued, `The technical package I have is different to what we tested with in pre-season so we´ll need a bit of time to find the right setting but, as I say, we know the place well so I´m sure we´ll quickly find a good balance.

`Sepang features a lot of technical sections – you need to be very focused under braking and good traction is another very important factor. Track temperatures are usually very high so tyre choice for the race is always fundamental. After finishing fifth at Phillip Island it would be nice to be in the top six again. If we can start practice out on the right foot then that kind of result is definitely within our reach.´

Team Manager Fausto Gresini added his views, commenting, `Shinya comes here on the back of an excellent race – possibly his best of the season, regardless of the result. At Phillip Island he fought hard to the end and finished close to the leaders. In Malaysia he´ll be racing for the penultimate time with our team but despite that he remains highly motivated and I´m sure that once again he will show his great professionalism and work hard for another good result. I also think Sepang is well suited to his riding style.´

`Alex hasn´t enjoyed the best of times recently but we remain hopeful. He has already ridden the MotoGP bike at Sepang in the winter tests, so this is an important opportunity for him to improve his performance and gather experience for next season, which is now our main objective.´

MotoGP, 2008, POLINI MALAYSIAN MOTORCYCLE GRAND PRIX, Alex de Angelis, Shinya Nakano, San Carlo Honda Gresini

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