The 2008 MotoGP season looks to have been the first and last on a Ducati for Toni Elias, after the Spaniard criticised the lack of technical support he received this season.

Elias, riding alongside Sylvain Guintoli at the satellite Alice Team, only finished in the top ten once (eighth) during the opening four rounds, and couldn't qualify higher than 14th.

Toni claims the parts needed to improve the situation were requested at the following French Grand Prix - but took until round ten, in Germany, to arrive.

"We'd asked for new parts in Le Mans this year, and they didn't arrive until the race at Sachsenring. Until then we were just fighting not to finish last," the official MotoGP website quotes Elias as saying.

"When we finally received them we made a leap in performance, and we got back in the top ten, so for me Germany is when the second part of the season began."

Rain on race day left Elias twelfth in Germany, while team-mate Guintoli took his best result of the year (sixth without traction control). Elias was looking much more competitive in the following US Grand Prix - rising to sixth place by lap five - until a mistake dropped him back down the order.

The #24 made no such errors in Brno and, while Ducati's reigning world champion Casey Stoner crashed out of the lead, Elias claimed second position behind Valentino Rossi.

Elias backed that up with third position next time out at Misano, making him the only Ducati rider other than Stoner to finish on the podium all season - and the first satellite Ducati rider ever to take two podium finishes.

Despite those results, Toni's subsequent decision not to remain at Alice for 2009 saw the technical support 'disappear'.

"I told Ducati what my plans were for 2009 in Motegi, and from that moment on the parts disappeared," he said. "From then on it was back to the lower half of the standings."

Elias finished 16th, 11th, 15th and 18th in the four races after Japan.

Elias had agreed a return to Honda Gresini, for whom he rode in 2006 and 2007 - when he took his first and so far only MotoGP race win in spectacularly style at Estoril.

The standout feature of the 2009 deal is a 'factory bike', although Honda has been known to have several different specifications of 'factory' machine - even within its official Repsol team.

Elias describes his 2009 machinery as a "near factory bike" and will have the level of support given to former Gresini rider Sete Gibernau, who finished title runner-up in 2003 and 2004.

"San Carlo Honda Gresini is a satellite team, but I have been told by the bosses that we will have same support as Gibernau in his day; a near-factory bike," said Elias.

That seems to confirm that Elias will have a pneumatic-valve '09 RC212V, rather than a 'factory' valve-spring machine as used late in the year by 2008 Gresini rider Shinya Nakano.

Either way, Elias expects much greater technical support than he had this season.

"We will see how things go, but I think that they will be a lot more straightforward than last year," the Spaniard declared.

Elias - who joined MotoGP in 2005 and has now ridden for Yamaha, Honda and Ducati - has never before raced with 'factory' machinery in the premier-class.

Elias will use a 2008 satellite bike during the final test of the year, at Jerez next week.



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