Only four riders may have been capable of lapping within one second of Jorge Lorenzo's pole position time at the Grand Prix of Catalunya, but the next ten places were covered by just 0.283sec!
Bookending those positions were San Carlo Honda Gresini riders Toni Elias and Alex de Angelis, the Spaniard giving the team a welcome boost ahead of his home race with his second row start.
“The truth is that we're really satisfied with today because after a difficult free practice this morning we managed to 'turn over the tortilla', as we say here in Spain, and the afternoon was a completely different story,” said Toni.
“Basically the mechanics have stripped down the bike and rebuilt it again and I want to thank each and every one of them because they have done a fantastic job. I still think we have to keep working just as hard because our potential is much higher but after finishing second to last this morning and then qualifying fifth this afternoon... we can't ask for more than that.”
“We've been in a long tunnel and today we've seen the light at the end of it so hopefully now we can step out into the sunshine!” said a relieved Fausto Gresini, team manager. “The whole team have worked extremely hard and Toni was able to find a good compromise with his set-up that we hope to improve even further tomorrow morning. We'll be dreaming of a great race for him in front of his home crowd tomorrow.”
Meanwhile de Angelis couldn't help but feel a little unlucky with his starting position.
“We've taken a big step forward and closed the gap a lot but we were a little unlucky today because for the sake of a few tenths of a second we're ten places behind where we could have been on the grid!” he confirmed. “My team-mate was three tenths quicker and he's fifth so that tells you everything.”