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Focus shifts to Valencia for Gresini pair

Focus shifts to Valencia for Gresini pair

San Carlo Honda Gresini duo Toni Elías and Alex de Angelis are locked in the close battle for seventh place in the World Championship, after contrasting fortunes at Sepang.

With neither Toni Elías nor Alex de Angelis assured of a ride for the 2010 season, the final few rounds of the 2009 campaign are providing both with the opportunity to showcase their talents. A seventh-placed finish in the World Championship would aid each rider, with news on Elías’ future expected in the coming days.

With De Angelis in ninth and Elías in tenth – both riders are on 105 points with Marco Melandri on 108 in seventh – there is little separating the duo. The wet race at Sepang over the weekend saw Elías place seventh and De Angelis twelfth, to further intensify the competition as the season heads to Valencia for the final round.

Elías, who is not usually confident in the wet, rode well in Malaysia and was pleased with a result that kept his championship campaign on course.

“I’m happy because seventh position is good, and we’re still alive for seventh position in the championship,” he said. “We are tenth, we needed the points, and it’s good. I was thinking in the right conditions we could have had a very good race, and when I saw the rain I thought it would be very difficult. But everything went well and we are happy.”

“I’m really pleased with the result but also with the performance because riding in the wet is not usually our strong point. I don’t know if it was because the track temperature was higher here but I didn’t struggle as much as I expected for grip. Unfortunately it wasn’t quite enough to run with the top guys again but in general we have to be satisfied with this Grand Prix.”

De Angelis, a wet weather specialist, was disappointed with his placement but is confident he can make amends at Valencia.

“I was so confident that I could have a strong race in the rain today but for whatever reason I never felt comfortable with the wet setting here and I couldn’t get going,” he said. “The rear was spinning up everywhere and all I could do was hang on and bring it home in the points. It’s a real shame because this could have been a good opportunity for us to make up more ground in the championship. It’s a missed chance but at the same time my rivals didn’t capitalise on it and we are still within three points of seventh place, which is my objective when we head for the final race at Valencia.”

MotoGP, 2009, SHELL ADVANCE MALAYSIAN MOTORCYCLE GRAND PRIX, Toni Elias, Alex De Angelis, San Carlo Honda Gresini

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