Toni Elias

Elias, Spanish Moto2 Race 2010
Birth Date: 
26 March, 1983

Toni Elias Biography

Toni Elias, who would go on to become a MotoGP race winner and Moto2's first world champion, was well-grounded in motorcycle racing, with his grandfather a road-racer and dad was a ten-time Spanish motocross champion as well as running a bike shop in Manresa, north-west of Barcelona.

So there was some degree of inevitability about young Toni's eventual immersion in motorcycle racing.

Elias entered made his full time 125cc World Championship debut in 2000 with Honda, won two races during his second season, then moved swiftly into the 250cc class with Aprilia - and won a race during his debut season.

Toni's second quarter-litre season saw him win five races - more than any other rider - and he also scored five pole positions in a row at the back-end of the season. Had it not been for a last lap crash in Rio, while leading, he might well have been world champion that year, but instead he was ranked third.

Back on a Honda in 2004, he won in Portugal, but never recaptured the form he had shown the previous season. The seven rostrum finishes showed he was more than simply 'on the pace' but the frustration of seeing his fierce rival Dani Pedrosa cruise to the title weighed heavily on him.

After the relative disappointment of that 2004 250cc season, it was easy for Yamaha to prise him away with the lure of a (Tech3) MotoGP ride, especially as Pedrosa was to remain in the quarter-litre class to defend his title.

Elias' aggressive style adapted quickly to the 990cc MotoGP four-stroke but, in a pattern that was to be repeated in later seasons, Toni was sidelined by injury just as he was getting into his stride - although a sixth place at the penultimate round gave the MotoGP paddock a timely reminder of his talent.

Elias moved to Gresini Honda for 2006, where he was paired with Marco Melandri. Fourth in the season opener suggested it was to be Elias' breakthrough year, but he was still to climb the podium by the time he was injured at Assen just before the midpoint of the season.

Heading into the penultimate round at Portugal and Elias' MotoGP future looked in severe doubt. Toni had only broken the top ten twice since his return from injury six races ago and a new contract for 2007 looked unlikely...

...Until, that is, Elias rode the race of his life at Estoril - charging from 11th on the grid to pass Valentino Rossi for victory on the run to the chequered flag. With Honda's title hope Nicky Hayden taken out by team-mate Pedrosa early in the race, Elias had also deprived Rossi of points that would prove crucial to Hayden's eventual title success.

That ride saved Elias' career and he was duly re-signed by Gresini for 2007, but once again Toni's hopes were blighted by injury - this time a leg breaking accident, once again at Assen. Elias took one podium before the fall (elbowing an angry Rossi out of the way in the process) and then another after his comeback, during a year in which he and Melandri were the only satellite Honda riders to appear on the podium.

A move to the Alice (Pramac) Ducati team for 2008 saw Elias deliver what was at the time some the best results by a satellite Ducati rider, courtesy of consecutive second and third places at Brno and Misano

It made Elias the only rider other than Casey Stoner to take the Ducati Desmosedici to a podium finish that year and the first ever satellite Ducati MotoGP rider to take more than one podium finish, as he finished the season with almost double the points of Stoner's factory team-mate Melandri.

However, Toni's next best race result was only seventh place and, because of that inconsistency, he finished the season 12th in the standings - matching his 2007 ranking.

Elias joined Alex de Angelis at Gresini Honda in 2009, the team Elias previously rode for in 2006 and 2007, and was aiming to return to race-winning form thanks to the offer of a ‘factory’ RC212V.

Like previous Gresini riders Marco Melandri and Sete Gibernau, Elias came to doubt just how ‘factory’ his bike actually was, but he took what would be his final grand prix podium at Brno and finished as the top non-factory team RCV rider in a career-best seventh overall.

Unfortunately, Elias still lost his seat, with Gresini signing up Melandri and Marco Simoncelli for 2010.

Toni was openly frustrated at his lack of MotoGP options and ultimately chose to stay at Gresini, but step down to the new Moto2 class (replacing 250cc) - with the firm aim of returning to MotoGP as soon as possible.

Elias went on to dominate the inaugural Moto2 season with seven wins, while Dorna's desire to strengthen the new class by ensuring the early champions received a ride in MotoGP the following year saw Elias back to the premier-class, this time with LCR Honda, for 2011.

But Elias coudn't take the satellite-spec RC213V higher than eighth place on his way to an unhappy15th in the world championship and sought a return to Moto2 for 2012.

Unable to revive his 2010 Moto2 form, Elias rotated through several Moto2 teams without success over the next two seasons. He then raced for Aprilia in the 2014 World Superbike championship (ninth overall, best finish of fourth) and made some replacment MotoGP rides before cutting his loses and moving to the USA to race in the MotoAmerica series.

Winning his very first race, Elias remained a MotoAmerican frontrunner for Suzuki from 2016-2020, winning the title in 2017.

Career Highlights:

  • 1992 : 1st Manresa Pocketbike Cup
  • 1993 : 3rd Catalan Pocketbike Championship
  • 1994 : 2nd Catalan Pocketbike Championship
  • 1995 : 10th Catalan Scooter Championship
  • 1996 : 4th Catalan Scooter Championship
  • 1997 : 1st ScooterMania Cup
  • 1998 : 23rd 125 Spanish Championship Honda
  • 1999 : 3rd 125 Spanish Championship Honda
  • 2000 : 20th 125 World Championship Honda
  • 2001 : 3rd 125 World Championship Honda - race wins 2
  • 2002 : 4th 250 World Championship Aprilia - race wins 1
  • 2003 : 3rd 250 World Championship Aprilia - race wins 5
  • 2004 : 4th 250cc World Championship Honda - race wins 1
  • 2005 : 12th MotoGP World Championship Yamaha.
  • 2006 : 9th MotoGP World Championship Honda - race wins 1
  • 2007 : 12th MotoGP World Championship Honda.
  • 2008 : 12th MotoGP World Championship Ducati
  • 2009 : 7th MotoGP World Championship Honda
  • 2010 : 1st Moto2 World Championship Moriwaki - race wins 7
  • 2011 : 15th MotoGP World Championship Honda
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