Thursday, August 14, 2008

Motociclismo: In conversation with Toni Elias

D'Antin Ducati rider Toni Elias hasn't been able to perform anywhere near the level which the team owners may have expected. What, exactly, went wrong...?

While Casey Stoner seems to be able to win MotoGP races effortlessly, other Ducati riders like Marco Melandri, Sylvain Guintoli and Toni Elias have been left floundering this season. Is there really a huge gap in talent/capability between Stoner and the others, or could there also be other factors that are responsible for creating this situation? Speaking to Motociclismo, here’s what Pramac D'Antin/Alice Ducati rider Toni Elias thinks:

On whether the Ducati is harder to ride than what he had expected

I did expect the motorcycle to be hard to master, but did not anticipate many of the problems which I have encountered during the season. Still, the first thing is to accept things the way they are, without getting discouraged.

On other Ducati’s other MotoGP riders, Melandri and Guintoli

I think the two are good riders, who’re in the same situation as I am. But that they are, like me, not doing well this year is no consolation for me. For us, the hardest thing has been to accept a situation we did not expect, and then to find out what’s going wrong and find a solution.

But the worst part is, when we did find out what’s wrong, Ducati said they would need four of five races to come up with the solution.

On what he has to say about Stoner’s comments (that other Ducati riders weren’t trying hard enough) and Livio Suppo’s opinion (that Elias’ problems were due to psychological rather than mechanical reasons)

‘I prefer not to go there. Each person will have their opinion and I respect it. But I knew, very clearly, what my problems were, which is why these things don’t make a dent in my confidence. I trust myself.

On what his problems were, with the bike

Not having enough feel and feedback from the tyres, especially the rear. There was not enough feedback while entering and exiting corners, and you don’t know what would happen if you open the throttle. Some of these concerns have been resolved by changing something in the chassis, but cannot relax – we must continue to improve. So the test we have after Brno will be crucial…

On the departure of Luis D'Antin

The truth is that I knew nothing and I was a bit surprised by all this. I don’t know why it’s happened, but then I am not affected by this.

On his goals for the rest of the season

I think in Laguna Seca I could have finished among the top five. My goal is to be constant in every training session and every race, although I don’t know whether it will be possible everywhere. But possible or not, we will work hard towards achieving this goal.

Also see:
Board track racing: 160km/h on tyres of that era, and no brakes!
2008 LA Calendar Motorcycle Show...
Triumph: 2009 Street Triple R announced...
A supercharged Yamaha R1...
Ness Signature Series Victory Vision: The coolest touring bike ever...
Kawasaki ZX-9R based MotoGP replica...
In conversation with 1999 500cc world champ, Alex Criville

External links:
Malcolm Smith's 8-speed 1970 Husqvarna 250...

Now you can go MotoGP racing on your PS3, Xbox or PC. More details on MotoGP 08 here

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