Toni Elias says he will focus on getting as close to factory Ducati riders Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden in qualifying for the Indianapolis Grand Prix after being drafted in as a replacement for the newly injured Hector Barbera at Pramac Racing.
The Spaniard was originally announced as riding in place of Barbera at Indianapolis for a second consecutive grand prix after his countryman injured himself in training last month, but stood aside when the team's regular rider announced he would attempt to compete.
However, Barbera's subsequent accident during FP1, which has left him with a fractured vertebra means Elias has been given the chance to ride once again, the 2010 MotoGP champion proceeding to set the 17th best time in FP2 with considerably less mileage than his counterparts.
Indeed, Elias was satisfied with his pace given his late call up and is confident he can at least close the gap to fellow Ducati riders Rossi and Hayden when qualifying gets underway.
“First of all, I have to say I feel sorry for Hector (Barbera) because it is not nice when you have a crash like his and you get injured. But other years it has happened to me. I came here to do this job to replace him in any case. It happened, and I jumped on at the last minute. It was difficult, but I feel much better than I did at Laguna Seca, and that is important for my confidence.
“With only one practice and without very many kilometres with this bike, my gap is normal. In MotoGP, working on it you can improve a lot with more kilometres. But if I look at the pole – it's far.
“What I have to do is look at the riders that or more or less in my company – for example, Nicky or Valentino, and that gap is less. It's 1.4 or 1.2secs. That is my target. I know it will be difficult to ride with them, but my target for tomorrow and Sunday is to be as close as possible.”