Alex de Angelis has escaped punishment for a collision with fellow Honda rider Dani Pedrosa during Monday night's Qatar season-opener.

The San Marinese rode a typically aggressive race to reach sixth position after initially losing ground from ninth on the grid. However, in the process he also tangled with injured factory RCV rider Pedrosa, while passing the Spaniard for seventh at half-race distance.

Pedrosa, who had just been overtaken by Chris Vermeulen, drifted slightly off line on the exit of a left hander - prompting de Angelis to dive for the inside. Unfortunately, their lines crossed and Alex hit the side of Pedrosa's RCV with considerable force.

Dani stayed in control, despite his feet coming off the pegs, but it was subsequently announced that the incident was under investigation by Race Direction.

"I was called up to Race Direction to put forward my version of the collision with Dani but there was no complaint against me so it wasn't a big deal," said de Angelis.

"It was a shame about the collision with Pedrosa - I'm not sure exactly how it happened but I think it was clear that Alex didn't do it intentionally," added San Carlo Honda Gresini team manager Fausto Gresini.

With the threat of punishment lifted, de Angelis was able to celebrate a much better start to the season than last year, when he had been the only rider to crash out of the race.

"I'm so happy with this result because I think we deserve it after working so hard this weekend," said Alex. "I didn't get a great start but I knew my pace was okay so I just tried to stay calm, pass as many people as possible and make up positions.

"We knew the podium was out of reach for us here but I always felt we were capable of a top result and sixth place falls into that category.

"This is just the start and even though we know this circuit suits my style of riding and my package, our aim is to be consistent and keep scoring results like this one," he added.

"Alex made life difficult for himself at the start but he rode brilliantly and fully deserved the result," stated Gresini.

Team-mate Toni Elias, making his factory Honda race debut, finished ninth after battling rear traction problems for much of testing.

"Taking into account where we started from and the problems we had this weekend, this is a decent result for us and I'm satisfied," he claimed.

"In terms of points it probably would have been better for us if the race was cancelled here because we knew it would be tough for us but the truth is that if you had offered me ninth place on Friday, I probably would have taken it!

"We know we have work to do and we know exactly where our problems are, so we'll work together with Honda to try and fix them as much as possible before the next race in Japan."



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