BMW Italia has revealed it is granting MotoGP rider Toni Elias a chance to test its bike at Misano as the Spaniard considers his options for the 2012 season.
Elias returned to the MotoGP fray in 2011 with the LCR Honda team after dominating the inaugural Moto2 World Championship, but has struggled for outright pace, cracking the top eight just once this season.
As such, Elias is expected to be dropped by LCR for next season, prompting him to consider following in the wheeltracks of Marco Melandri, Max Biaggi and Carlos Checa, all of which have enjoyed great success since switching to Superbikes.
Elias will ride the BMW S1000RR at Misano over two days (13/14 September), though the team stresses he isn't being considered as the immediate replacement for James Toseland, who recently announced his retirement due to injury, adding that he remains contracted to LCR Honda for the remainder of the MotoGP season.
“James' farewell to racing certainly was not something we were happy about,” said sporting director Serafino Foti. “After all, James is a champion! But obviously we also have to look forward. The tests on 13 and 14 September were scheduled some time ago and we wanted to invite Toni in order to satisfy his interest as well as to take advantage of his experience and riding skills.
“The upcoming test is not aimed at replacing James in the championship, partly because Toni is already committed to the MotoGP championship. However, over the next few days we will identify and officially name the rider who will be competing for us in the last three races.
“I would like to express my personal thanks to Lucio Cecchinello (LCR Honda team boss) for his willingness to co-operate and to Honda for going along with his request.”