Toni Elias made the most of his one year sabbatical from the MotoGP class to win the inaugural Moto2 World Championship for the Gresini Honda team. Now the Spaniard is back in MotoGP as the lone rider on the LCR Honda team in 2011.Elias thoroughly dominated the inaugural Moto2 World Championship, clinching the championship in Malaysia in the middle of the recent Australasian swing. Even as he was enjoying unparalled success, the Spaniard made it known that he wanted to return to MotoGP, where he spent most of his career. And LCR Honda team owner Lucio Cecchinello made it happen.Originally it was believed Elias would return to the class with the Pramac Racing Ducati squad, but that seat now appears to be going to current LCR Honda rider Randy de Puniet.”I am thrilled to be back in MotoGP and I am happy to race with the LCR Team,” Elias said. “I want to thank Lucio (Cecchinello) and Honda for their trust and I am anxious to return.”I have known Lucio (Cecchinello) for a long time as we raced together in the 125cc class from 1999 to 2001. Although his team is not an official one it is very professional and well organized. Being their only rider is a further warranty for me.”Said Cecchinello, “First of all I want to thank Randy (de Puniet) for his cooperation and for the several successes we have shared in the 250cc class and in the MotoGP class in the last five years together. The chance to work with Toni Elias is a big incentive for us because this is a very important moment for presenting to our sponsors and partners a new project. The nice thing is that Toni and I raced together in the 125cc class. I was at the end of my career and he was at the beginning. I remember he was a very hard rider and very resolute. As time goes by he has improved very much and I think he is a very talented rider with a lot of experience. All the staff and I give him our warmest welcome.”
Toni Elias to LCR Honda for 2011
Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor
Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.