Elias expects tough start to season

Toni Elias has admitted that he is expecting a tough start to the 2009 MotoGP season having not yet got fully up to speed on the latest Honda

Elias expects tough start to season

The Spaniard has returned to Honda's leading satellite team Gresini this year after a fraught 2008 on the Alice Ducati and will receive factory-specification machinery this year.

But the works Repsol Honda team has struggled to get its 2009 bike on the frontrunners' pace, with Elias encountering similar problems.

He is optimistic that Honda will recover the lost ground, but with practice dramatically reduced this season, he is uncertain about his prospects in this weekend's Qatar season opener.

"We have struggled a little more than we expected in testing but we know where the problems lie and it is good to be going back to a circuit where we already have lots of data," said Elias.

"Ideally I'd like to be starting the season in better shape but the truth is we have work to do in a short space of time when we get out to Qatar and we'll be pushing hard in every aspect to approach the race in the best possible way. Losail is one of my favourite circuits and I've started on the front row there twice before - both times with this team.

"I remember in particular three years ago we were three seconds off the pace on the first day and still managed to qualify on the front row. That just shows how quickly things can change in racing so we'll go there with optimism, fight hard and see what happens."

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