Elias crashes out of U.S. Grand Prix after good progress during the weekend
Toni Elias replaced injured rider Héctor Barberà at the 10th round of the 2012 MotoGP World Championship at Laguna Seca circuit. The Spaniard had a difficult start as he was in 16th position when a rider in front of him crashed, making him lose valuable tenths while riding into the gravel. Toni was able to re-join the race, but unfortunately when he was trying to catch up again he made a mistake in breaking a little too late, causing him to lose the front and sliding into the gravel.
Despite the result, the Pramac Racing Team ended this weekend with a positive feeling. Thanks to two days of full work with the Pramac Racing crew, Toni was able improve progressively lap after lap, increasing his confidence with his Ducati. From the first free practice session to the qualifying he improved his best lap time by almost two seconds, with a personal best lap of 1’23.898, which gave him the 17th position on the grid for today’s 32-lap race of the U.S. Grand Prix. Even if he was still far from the fastest riders, the qualifying result was encouraging, knowing that Elias has not ridden a Ducati since the 2008 season. Unfortunately Toni finished his race too early to allow him to demonstrate his potential with the Ducati.
In the next two weeks Héctor Barberà will be continuing his rehabilitation and work with Dr. Mir who will evaluate the physical progress that he is making after his leg surgery to repair the fractured left tibia and fibula. The Pramac Racing Team, in agreement with Héctor, will come to a decision about who will ride the Pramac Ducati machine at the upcoming 11th round that will take place in Indianapolis in two weeks’ time.
Toni Elias I am very sorry for how this weekend ended. Up until my crash I was gaining positions. I have to be happy with the progress we made in only three days with the Ducati. Every time I sat on the bike I managed to increase my confidence with the bike and I was able to improve my lap times, even if I was still learning the bikes reaction on this untraditional track. Today I didn’t get a brilliant start, but I felt good. Unfortunately Pirro crashed in front of me, I briefly rode into the gravel, but I was able to regain the confidence with my Ducati. I was planning to catch the riders ahead, but I braked too late and I lost the front finding myself off track. To conclude this weekend with a crash leaves a bad taste in my mouth, but I hope to have the opportunity in the near future to collaborate again and continue to improve. I would like to thank the Pramac Racing Team for allowing me to be part of the team at this Laguna GP, thanks for a wonderful experience.
Francesco Guidotti – Team Manager It was a tricky weekend. All the premier class riders had some trouble due to heavy fog, in particular during both the morning sessions. It was a shame, especially for us. We lost a lot of precious time, due to the poor visibility. However, we worked tirelessly in the whole weekend, starting with the search for a good feeling for Toni with the bike. From the first free practice session Toni had some issues with the front, but we were able to steadily improve both his lap times and his confidence with the bike. It was a shame for the race result, but especially for the team’s development. We could gather important information for the Ducati’s future setup during the 32-laps race, but Toni crashed and the race finished too early.
Now we have to wait to make plans for the future. We will have to speak with both the doctors and Héctor in order to make a final decision.
Source: Pramac Racing Press Release