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Elias targets Toseland, Capirossi.

Toni Elias is aiming to leapfrog the likes of James Toseland and Loris Capirossi during the final two rounds of the season, to secure a top ten finish in the 2008 MotoGP World Championship.

The Alice Ducati rider, confirmed on a factory Honda at Gresini for 2009, was just three points away from the top ten after podiums at Brno and Misano - but his results have plummeted in the three rounds since, the Spaniard scoring just nine points out of a possible 75.

Nevertheless, Elias heads to this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix twelfth in the standings, nine points behind Toseland and eleven from Capirossi - with Shinya Nakano, whose place Elias will take next season, a mere four points further ahead.

"I want to enter the top ten in the riders' world standing," declared Toni. "It wouldn't be a great goal if we were at the beginning of the season, but for how things went this year I would be satisfied.

"Surely the three riders that are in the battle will do their best as well and it will not be so easy. I always liked this track and I hope to give to my team a good result. They deserve it for all the hard work done during this long season," he added.

Behind Elias, there is a 31 point deficit to team-mate Sylvain Guintoli. The Frenchman will move to the British Superbike championship with Crescent Suzuki next season, and faces a painful end to his present grand prix career after fracturing a shoulder last time out at Phillip Island.

"In Australia the doctors suggested not to race due to the fracture in my shoulder blade after Saturday's fall, but I gritted my teeth trying to conquer the best position possible anyway," said Sylvain, who finished the Australian Grand Prix in 14th place.

"I will do the same here in Malaysia. There are only two races left, and I already know that the winter break, whatever professional choice I will take for next season, it will be long and I will miss the competition. For this motive I will not think about the pain but only racing!" he declared.

"The Sepang circuit should be good for the technical characteristic of our bike as the Ducati has always stepped on the podium here since 2005," stated Alice Team technical director Fabiano Sterlacchini. "In addition Toni has reached some good results in Malaysia and for this motive we are trustful for this next MotoGP round. Sylvain will not be at his best after the fracture at his left shoulder blade, but he will give all he has to end in the best way the season. I expect a lot from him in these last two races."

The Malaysian Grand prix weekend is expected to see Alice confirm that Mika Kallio and Niccolo Canepa will ride for the team during the 2009 MotoGP season.

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Bob Buttamasangy

October 16, 2008 6:54 AM

Doodaa, you obviously post as whingeing27 as well? If so, then I am saying there are others that deserve the ar5e well before Elias. I don't disagree with your concept but just pointing out that others have failed to deliver even when given more/better/greater opportunities that Toni. He's still young and I think he has more spirit than most put together. I used CE as an example because to me, he has failed most spectacularly. I don't dislike him, just think that '06 should have been his last go especially on factory gear. Geez mate, for a pom you certainly struggle to understand plain english. Cheers.

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