Toni Elias experienced a full spectrum of emotions this week, as some well-received set-up advice on Thursday translated to a stunning second place finish in the fourth running of the Superpresitigio.
The former Moto2 world champion, who now cuts his teeth in the Moto America Superbike class, was scratching his head at the beginning of the week, as he found himself more than half a second a lap off the pace of his Suzuki team-mates.
Ultimately Elias was forced to call upon the advice of former MotoGP crew chief Fabrizio Cecchini and American flat track star Jared Mees – absent at this year's event through injury – in a bid to cure set-up woes.
Come Friday evening and Elias was fast, a feeling he carried through to Saturday, when he ran eventual winner Marc Marquez close in the Superfinal.
“We did not expect this,” said a delighted Elias, whom Marquez later credited as being the surprise package of the 2016 event.
“We thought the Superprestigio event was possible but not in the final. Thanks to my team because they worked really hard during the week. I think we made the right choices at the right time.
“Every time we put used tyre in and in the end we had a new tyre. Finally I was really close to lose the Superfinal because my rear tyre was completely finished and I went to Michelin and said, 'Please, please, I need you to change my tyre!'
“Finally every thing in the Superfinal was perfect. I could pass Brad and some other guys and this is a party. I'm really happy to be here. It's perfect to finish the year in this way.”
On a turbulent week, Elias said, “The last test I did I made it with Suzuki Catalan guys. They were half a second faster than me. Every day, every practice and everything I tried was a disaster. I did not know how I was in this situation.
“I said, 'OK, we need to test something very different.' We tested it, it works and after that it started to rain. I couldn't continue but we took what we found, worked with my father, mechanics…
“I called Fabrizio Cecchini, a crew chief I worked with in MotoGP. I called other guys like Jared Mees, I called everybody. From USA to Europe and when I rode the bike yesterday [Friday] I was very happy because the bike worked. I started to enjoy it on the bike and I started fighting with Brad.
“My biggest problem was the start. But this year I did some very good starts. When I start well I went in very aggressive. When I didn't in the last moment I stopped and made everyone go wide to get the inside the line.
“My rhythm was good but every time I tried to catch Marc he had an answer for me. He increased the rhythm and I said, 'OK, I can do no more.' Every time it was the same answer when I went to push but for me second place is perfect.”