After a disappointing start to 2011, Toni Elias is confident that his early season troubles are now behind him after a positive test day at Estoril.
The reigning Moto2 champion endured a miserable start on his return to the premier class when he crashed out of last place in Qatar. The LCR Honda rider showed signs of improvement to finish ninth in a chaotic race at Jerez before beating Loris Capirossi to 11th at Estoril last weekend.
Elias blamed a lack of rear grip for his struggles at the first three events, and completed 108 laps of the Portuguese circuit on board the RC212V in an effort to find a solution to the problem.
The Spaniard completed more laps than any other rider, setting a fastest time of 1:38.412 to end the day in 13th place, and was encouraged by his performance on Monday.
“Well … I am happy about the further improvements we obtained today. We worked hard with the guys completing 108 laps but now we are closer to the top seven. I have improved my fastest race lap from yesterday by one second and this gives further motivation. We have tested a new link which was on our TO DO list with the suspension regulations and now the bike is more stable”.
San Carlo Honda Gresini's Marco Simoncelli continued his blistering pace from the weekend's Grand Prix by topping the timesheets with a 1:36.211. Championship leader Jorge Lorenzo was second fastest ahead of Repsol Honda's Casey Stoner.
Cal Crutchlow continued his impressive start to life in MotoGP with the fourth fastest time for Monster Yamaha Tech 3, with Valentino Rossi the quickest Ducati in fifth, just ahead of Colin Edwards. Estoril race winner Dani Pedrosa was tenth as he chose to rest his injured shoulder.
Round four of the MotoGP World Championship takes place at the Le Mans circuit in France on May 15th, as Jorge Lorenzo looks to extend his four point lead over Pedrosa.