It's no secret that the San Carlo Honda Gresini team are desperately unhappy with their start to the 2009 MotoGP season, with Toni Elias and Alex de Angelis twelfth and 13th in the championship after five rounds.
Perhaps the biggest frustration is that Elias has gained little tangible benefit from having a factory spec RC212V at his disposal, with the team's best result so far this season a sixth place by de Angelis - on the satellite version - in round one at Qatar.
The team appears to have made little headway in solving the rear traction and general chassis problems its riders have battled since before the start of the season, and there appears to have been no new parts from Honda to help the situation.
Perhaps that's what team manager Fausto Gresini was referring to when, after watching Elias and de Angelis claim just 15th and 16th in Friday practice at Catalunya, he said: “There is no point discussing the politics of our situation - the only thing we can do is continue to work hard.”
Home star Elias explained that the chassis problems were too great to ride around.
“We have a lot of work to do on the chassis, because there is far too much load on the front. I know I am always complaining about that but at this circuit in particular it is just too much,” said Elias. “We don't have anything new to test so it is down to us to keep coming up with new ideas, experimenting and trying to find a solution with what we have.”
de Angelis attempted to paint a more positive picture, insisting that the 'only problem' was rear traction.
“We're still struggling for rear grip, as we have been doing all season, and the bike is sliding around a lot, but the truth is that this is our only problem. We really need to sort it out because other than that the bike feels great,” he said. “The engine is really strong and in a straight line we are really fast but we need to transfer that to the corners.”
Unfortunately for Elias and de Angelis, the fellow satellite Honda of LCR's Randy de Puniet - which has beaten them in three out of the five races so far this year - was fifth fastest on Friday, with Scot Honda rookie Yuki Takahashi ninth.
The only RC212V slower than the Gresini riders was newcomer Gabor Talmacsi.