Inaugural Moto2 World Champion Toni Elias will return to the intermediate category in 2012 after penning a deal to join the Aspar Team.
Former MotoGP race winner Elias romped to the 2010 Moto2 title aboard a Gresini-Moriwaki, but a subsequent return to the premier class in 2011 with LCR Honda did not yield positive results, the Spaniard finishing 15th in the standings with a best finish of just eighth.
As such, Elias was tipped to consider a switch to the World Superbike Championship in 2012, but he has now opted to try and regain his Moto2 title with Aspar, fronting an all-Spanish line-up with 125GP champion Nico Terol joining him on a second Suter.
For Elias, the chance to return to Moto2 with a front-running team, whom he raced for a decade ago, was one he felt he couldn't pass up.
“I'm really delighted to return to the Aspar Team which is like a family to me because I was there in 2002 and 2003. Many years have passed since then but I'll work with the same technical team, and I know they have great potential. Added to that is the fact the bike is very strong," he said.
“We'll work extremely hard throughout the winter to be ready for next season, and I think we can have a very good campaign. We fought for the title together in 2003 and in the end we weren't able to get it, so we have unfinished business there. This is an added motivation to fight for the title in 2012.”
Team manager Jorge 'Aspar' Martinez was also pleased to have a mixture of youth and experience on his side for 2012 as he targets both the team's first wins and titles next season.
“I'm extremely happy to welcome Toni Elías to the Aspar Team. We still have great memories of his time in the team in 2002 and 2003. With regards to Nico, it's fantastic that he makes the step up to Moto2. It's a completely new category for him, and as such all he has to do is enjoy every moment and work hard so that he learns and moves forward.
“I'm convinced he'll do well because he's a World Champion, irrespective of what category he is in. We have a really strong line-up, and the Aspar team will continue to be at the highest level next season.”
Aspar is expected to stay involved in all three MotoGP classes in 2012, with Randy de Puniet and Aleix Espargaro linked to its proposed CRT MotoGP entry.