Inaugural Moto2 world champion Toni Elias has secured a return to the MotoGP class for 2011 - with LCR Honda.

Elias raced in MotoGP from 2005 to 2009 - with satellite Yamaha, Honda and Ducati teams - claiming one win and six podiums.

Despite finishing seventh in the 2009 championship, Elias was left without a ride in the premier-class, but took a gamble on stepping down to Moto2 - whilst staying with Gresini - to rebuild his career.

It worked and Elias won the first ever 600cc grand prix title, and his first world title, with seven wins from the 16 rounds so far held.

"I am thrilled to be back in MotoGP and I am happy to race with the LCR Team," said Elias. "I want to thank Lucio and Honda for their trust and I am anxious to return.

"I have known Lucio 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".

LCR entered the MotoGP class with future world champion Casey Stoner in 2006, then ran Carlos Checa in 2007 and then Randy de Puniet from 2008-2010.

The team took one podium and one pole with Stoner, who finished eighth in the championship, with de Puniet delivering a further rostrum for the team in 2009.

de Puniet is now expected to move to Pramac Ducati, alongside Loris Capirossi.

"First of all I want to thank Randy for his precious cooperation and for the several successes we have shared in the 250cc class and in the MotoGP class in the last five years together," said team manager Lucio Cecchinello.

"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 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!"



Loading Comments...