Gresini signs Elias for Moto2
|By Matt Beer||Wednesday, January 20th 2010, 09:33 GMT|
Toni Elias has completed a deal to lead Gresini's assault on the new Moto2 championship.
The Spaniard was dropped from the squad's MotoGP arm this year along with erstwhile team-mate Alex de Angelis, as Gresini recruited Marco Melandri and Marco Simoncelli for 2010.
But he will remain with the team for Moto2, riding a Moriwaki chassis alongside Russian Supersport graduate Vladimir Ivanov. Elias tested the Moriwaki for the company last November.
"I am very pleased to continue racing with Team Gresini because it is like a family to me," said Elias, who first joined Gresini in MotoGP in 2006, winning that year's Portuguese Grand Prix. He moved to Pramac Ducati for 2008 but returned for a third season at Gresini last year.
"Alongside Moriwaki we are beginning a new adventure in Moto2. We are extremely confident about the project and we will all work with great determination to get the maximum results possible."
Team boss Fausto Gresini has no doubt that Elias will be a contender for the Moto2 title.
"Having Toni as our lead rider is a source of great motivation for everybody and his experience and professionalism will no doubt rub off on Vladimir and help him," he said.
"Elias is a rider we know well and we have enjoyed great moments with him - he is determined, hard-working and professional and he is prepared to work on development with us. He has everything in place to be competitive at every race and there is no reason why the title should not be his target."
Elias brings the number of ex-MotoGP riders in Moto2 up to five, with de Angelis, Niccolo Canepa, Gabor Talmacsi and Yuki Takahashi having already secured deals in the 250cc series' replacement.