Niccolo Antonelli’s full Grand Prix debut ended in disappointment tonight as the youngster missed out on a deserved points finish due to a back strain midway through the race. Antonelli had made a brave charge from twentieth on the grid up to tenth when he was caught out by a sudden movement from his NSF250R, caused by a lack of rear grip, and left him in pain for the remaining laps.

Niccolo’ Antonelli (17th)

“The first few laps went well and I made up ten positions from the grid, which could potentially have been even more. I was closing on the group ahead when the tyre performance dropped off and then I almost crashed. I saved it but pulled something in my back. I was in a lot of pain down my left side after that and really struggling to ride. Qualifying was terrible for us but things were looking up today so I am happy to have finished the race and now we’re looking forward to Jerez.”

Fausto Gresini

“We have to look on this as a good performance because if it wasn’t for the injury he would have easily finished in the points on his debut. It has been a good experience for him and that is it to the benefit of all of us. I am happy and sure he’ll continue to make progress.”