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Gresini targets return to winning ways

Gresini targets return to winning ways

San Carlo Honda Gresini boss placing hopes in Toni Elias and factory-spec RC212V.

More than two years have passed since Fausto Gresini´s satellite Honda team took their last MotoGP victory, a record that the Italian is eager to erase in 2009. The former two-time 125cc World Champion has brought back Toni Elias –the man who gave him that most recent victory at the 2006 Portuguese Grand Prix- for the task, and has set out his goal for the upcoming campaign in no uncertain terms.

`After a difficult 2008, our objective is to fight with the best. Only one rider can win, but this season we are riding for the top step of the podium,´ says Gresini, whose San Carlo Honda Gresini outfit took a best result of fourth place last year.

Always high up in the pecking order for Honda parts, the team have this year captured the rights to a factory-spec RC212V for Elias. The Spaniard is yet to test with the machine –his first of its kind in his MotoGP career- having ridden the standard 2009 satellite bike for his initial testing runs. That situation is set to change on February 5th, at the first test of the year in Sepang.

`Work will start on Toni´s bike this week, and we will definitely have it ready for Sepang,´ explains Gresini. `It´s going to be a very similar machine to that used by the factory riders, a competitive bike that leaves me calm and positive about what 2009 will bring.

`(Second rider) Alex de Angelis had a difficult first year, but I also think that he can do better this year with his extra experience.´

Gresini´s lineup choices had also seen him make contact with former collaborator Marco Melandri, who may be ruing his decision to turn down the offer as his MotoGP future remains up in the air. Whilst there is no room for sentiment in the cutthroat world of premier class competition, Gresini has expressed his best wishes for his ex-protégé.

`It would be a sin if two riders of the calibre of Melandri and John Hopkins (another rider left with an uncertain future after Kawasaki´s announcement of factory team withdrawal from MotoGP) were to sit out the year.´

MotoGP, 2008, Alex de Angelis, Toni Elias, San Carlo Honda Gresini

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