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MOTOGP NEWS 

LCR Honda confirms it will not retain Toni Elias

Toni EliasToni Elias and Lucio Cecchinello's LCR Honda team have officially confirmed that they will split after a disappointing 2011 season.

Elias returned to MotoGP with LCR this year as reigning Moto2 champion. But the 2006 Portuguese Grand Prix winner struggled to get the hang of the team's Honda and finished the year 15th in the championship. Eighth places at Silverstone and Phillip Island were his best results and he never managed to qualify above 12th.

"This season was very tough for me but in the meantime I learnt a lot," said Elias. "Now I hope to start with a new challenge with more luck and the same I also wish to Lucio and the LCR team."

Cecchinello paid tribute to Elias' efforts despite their lack of success this year.

"This season was tougher than what we expected but we learnt a lot from the difficulties and we will keep on working at 100 per cent as always," said the team boss. "I must thank Toni, because he always tried hard to find a solution, and the team too.

"I wish him the best for his future career because he is a tough rider and a guy with a huge heart, a contagious smile and full of human worth."

Elias has been tipped for a switch to World Superbikes, while LCR has been linked with a number of potential replacements, including its 2008-10 rider Randy de Puniet and Moto2 champion Stefan Bradl.

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