Niccolo Antonelli revealed he was suffering from a broken exhaust in the latter stages of the Catalunya Grand Prix, explaining his inability to do better than 12th. The Italian rookie was among the quickest riders on track early on and was confident of climbing the order before disaster struck.
“I was a bit too careful at the start and lost a lot of positions but from the second lap the bike felt great and I was able to fight back. At the halfway stage I was still making up positions but I heard a strange noise coming from the back of the bike and it started to lose power. At the end I realised it was because I had lost a part of the exhaust. It is disappointing for me and the team but up to that point we showed our potential again and I set the second fastest lap of the race so I know we’ll make up for it soon.”
Team Manager Fausto Gresini was impressed with the way Antonelli rode before and after the problem and is sure his promise will be rewarded sooner rather than later.
“NiccolÃ² did a great job but he was unlucky today. Unfortunately he was a little bit too prudent over the first lap when he thought the track might still be damp and he lost a lot of positions but he fought back brilliantly and he was the fastest rider on track for much of the race. Then the exhaust problem prevented him from finishing as high as he could have done but I am still really happy because he is showing his great potential and we will do all we can to help him exploit it.”