Toni Elias and Gresini Honda crew chief Fabrizio Cecchini received little reward for their hard work in trying to solve the Spaniard's rear traction problems, during last weekend's Jerez test.
Elias secured ninth during Sunday's 45-minute 'qualifying' shootout on his factory RC212V, making him the second best Honda rider after Andrea Dovizioso, but was left 1.620sec off pacesetter Casey Stoner as cold track conditions increased his rear grip troubles.
“It was more difficult today because of the cooler temperatures but it is the same for everybody and the fact is that even though the track was cold, Stoner was hot!” said Toni. “We're not happy to be 1.6 seconds behind him but with the difficulties we're having in setting the bike up at the moment, it is to be expected.
“The important thing is that we know what we have to work on, we've known it since Qatar, but it is clear that the solution wasn't going to come to us at this circuit,” he revealed. “We have to be patient because we know the bike is good, we have a great package and a great team – we just need a bit more time to work things out.”
Team-mate Alex de Angelis was only 15th fastest after struggling to generate enough heat in his tyres.
“We've been off the pace here but we're going to keep working hard to be in the mix in Qatar,” said the San Marinese. “Our problem has been getting heat into the tyre but hopefully the track conditions are going to be warmer once the season starts than they have been in testing so we're still optimistic and very determined about what lies ahead.”
“It has been a difficult day for us today and a difficult test in general,” confessed team manager Fausto Gresini. “We know we have a good bike but at the moment we are not converting it into a good package and here at Jerez we haven't quite been able to get our head around the issues we're having. We could do with a bit more time to test the bike and find the right balance for it. We know it has huge potential but at the moment we're not getting 100% out of it.”