On October 15 2006, Toni Elias came from 11th on the grid to take his maiden premier class victory at Estoril. It was a big day for the 23-year-old in just his second season in MotoGP, as it was also his first podium finish and the first time he'd led a race. And he did it by beating Valentino Rossi to victory by just 0.002 seconds.
Elias was riding a satellite Honda, run by the Gresini team, and his success was the last time a rider not based in a factory garage graced the top step of the podium. Now, nearly 10 years later, the boss of the leading satellite team with basically the same bikes as Jorge Lorenzo and Rossi can barely give his second one away.
Between 2003 and '06, Gresini actually won 14 races, the bulk with Sete Gibernau on his way to second in the '03 and '04 championships to Rossi. They were heady days for satellite teams. Behind the factory Honda and Yamahas, a well-run satellite Honda - such as Gresini's - was about on par with the emerging Ducati as an attractive ride, and well ahead of Suzuki and Kawasaki's factory programmes.