Moto2 World Champion Toni Elias has been rewarded with a return to the premier class with LCR Honda for 2011, the Spaniard back in MotoGP after being left without a ride for this season.
Elias has had an exceptional season in Moto2 on his way to winning the inaugural title, his deal with LCR being confirmed at Estoril for a sixth season in MotoGP.
“I’m very happy to be able to confirm I’ll be back in MotoGP with LCR and Lucio Cecchinello and am also delighted Lucio has given me this opportunity – I think together we can have very good results,” said Elias, who also confirmed he would test in Valencia with the team next week.
“I’m very motivated. I think together we can have a very good season. I will start in Valencia after the last race and I am eager to get the job with the team underway as soon as possible.”
Elias’ confirmation at LCR means that Frenchman Randy de Puniet is leaving the team, and all indications have him joining Loris Capirossi at Pramac Racing Ducati. Capirossi was confirmed last week.
Aleix Espargaro will leave MotoGP to join the Pons team in Moto2, while this week has also seen Bradley Smith and Mike Di Meglio confirmed for Tech 3 Yamaha. Another rider confirmed for Moto2 has been Max Neukirchner, the German WSBK regular signing for the MZ team for 2011.
Suzuki will downsize to one rider with Alvaro Bautista in Capirossi’s absence, while Gresini Honda will feature Marco Simoncelli and Hiroshi Aoyama as Marco Melandri heads to Yamaha in WSBK. Aoyama’s Interwetten Honda team will quit the premier class at the end of this season.