Toni Elias shrugged off a crash in qualifying to secure a place on the fifth row of the grid and come within a tenth of a second of out qualifying the factory Ducati of Valentino Rossi.
The LCR Honda man lost control coming into Vale at the end of the 5.902km lap and after emerging unhurt, recovered to go back out and produce a lap time of 2:05.862, just 0.081s behind the multiple world champion ahead of him.
The Spaniard was pleased to make some improvements to the machine before his fall on Saturday afternoon, but feels it was further proof that his best hope of mixing it with the riders ahead is for the rain to intervene, with ninth in the wet Spanish Grand Prix his best result so far in 2011.
“Despite the crash and the lap time we obtained some small improvements using a new suspension link that makes me more stable now. Obviously the crash has spoiled our TO DO list for the qualifying session but I am lucky I am unhurt: I was lapping on hard rear tyre pushing a bit too much and I crashed out. Honestly I do not feel very comfortable in the dry so I am hoping to race in the wet tomorrow because it seems we have found a good direction”.
Elias' accident was similar to the one that so badly affected Cal Crutchlow's session, and ruled him out of the weekend as he struggled with the relatively low track conditions. With wet conditions possible, the 28 year old will be anxiously waiting to see what the British weather provides tomorrow.