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Gresini hopes de Angelis will thrive

Fausto Gresini says he hopes new signing Alex de Angelis can be the latest in a line of Italian riders to develop into a MotoGP frontrunner with the satellite Honda team

De Angelis is currently third in the 250cc championship. The 23-year-old's deal to step up to MotoGP with Gresini was confirmed at Estoril last weekend.

"With Alex, who is from San Marino but has come through the Italian motorcycling ranks, our 'tricolore' project continues and is in line with our tradition of opening the door to success to young Italian riders and making sure they have the right package to demonstrate their potential at the highest level," said Gresini.

"Over the years we have already achieved success with Sete Gibernau, Marco Melandri and Toni Elias in the premier class."

Gresini said that although de Angelis had initially been signed on a one-year deal, the relationship would be extended if he made sufficient progress in his rookie season.

"We have signed a one year agreement and we have the option of another year on Alex if he can end the 2008 season with certain results," said the team boss.

"Our intention is for this to be a long term project. We have a lot of belief in Alex's potential, he is only 23 years old and I hope he can be our team's next winner."

De Angelis said he was confident he had chosen the right team for his graduation to the premier class.

"I am making the step up to MotoGP with a lot of enthusiasm but safe in the knowledge that I have made the right decision at the right time," he said.

"I have a lot of faith in Fausto Gresini's team. Over the years they have proved that they are a top team and have nothing to envy of a factory team.

"Every rider who has ridden with them has been strong and achieved brilliant results. I feel I have all the technical and moral support I need."

Gresini's lead rider Marco Melandri - who is moving to Ducati next season - is currently sixth in the standings despite having suffered a string of injuries in recent months.

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