Toni Elias To Replace Hector Barbera At Laguna Seca

Toni Elias has been drafted in to replace the injured Hector Barbera at Laguna Seca. The Spaniard had recently parted ways with the Aspar team in Moto2, meaning he was immediately available to take the ride, and given Elias' prior experience with the team - Elias rode for the squad back in 2008 - and with the Bridgestone tires, Elias was the obvious candidate.

The Pramac team had a prior agreement with Kenny Noyes, the former Moto2 rider currently contesting the Spanish Moto2 championship, as permanent replacement rider. In the end, the American lost out to Elias on the basis of the Spaniard's previous experience with both the Bridgestone tires and the Ducati Desmosedici. Despite Elias' obvious struggles with the Bridgestone tires last season, both Ducati and Pramac must be hoping that the new, softer construction Bridgestones will be kinder to Elias' style than their 2011 predecessors. More importantly, perhaps, Elias' experience with the bike and the tires makes him less likely to crash expensively at the tricky Laguna Seca circuit.

Below is the press release from the team announcing Elias as Barbera's replacement:


After a trip of eight races around the European soil, the MotoGP World Championship riders take their second intercontinental fly of the season this weekend to the Red Bull US Grand Prix.

The iconic Laguna Seca circuit in California is ready to welcome the only the Premier Class paddock (the Moto2 and 125cc classes sitting this event out), for the first of the two US rounds on the 2012 calendar.

Unfortunately, the Pramac Racing Team rider Héctor Barberà will miss out on this first American round, due to his recent training incident when he fractured the left fibula and tibia. Héctor underwent successful surgery at the Instituto Universitario USP Dexeus last Sunday. The unlucky Spaniard, these days has began the rehabilitation and, reasonably, he will be able to run a race in 4 or 6 weeks, as Doctor Mir, a specialist surgeon who carried out the operation, said after the surgery.

Héctor will be replace by the Spaniard rider Tony Elias, who already rode for the Pramac Racing Team in 2008, achieving two amazing podiums in Brno and in Misano.

The 29-years old rider made his international racing debut in the 125cc World Championship in 2000, finishing 3rd in 2001 and taking his first win in the Dutch TT at the prestigious Assen circuit.

In the following years, Tony was able to clinch to the inaugural Moto2 World Championship at the Malaysian Grand Prix with three rounds to spare.

This year, Tony was riding with the Aspar Racing Team aboard on Suter machine in Moto2 class but both sides have announced that they were at the point of parting ways. Therefore Elias, until few days ago, was a rider without a bike to run with. Now he has the opportunity to show his potential for a race, at the spectacular Laguna Seca circuit.

Laguna Seca sits on the side of a hill just outside the coastal town of Monterey, a couple of hours south of San Francisco. The sometimes intense dry heat, unpredictable asphalt and anti-clockwise layout provide a break from the norm and the riders are forced to adapt their style somewhat after a summer on the fast and wide European tracks. The track boasts some of the most spectacular elevation changes and dramatic corners on the World Championship circuits, the most notorious of which is the infamous ‘corkscrew.'

During this American weekend, Tony will get the support of two very important and special guests of the Pramac Racing Team: Chris MacClugage and his wife, Rachel.

Mr. MacClugage is considered the best jet ski rider ever and it is demonstrated by the fifteenth World Jet Sky Championship that he won during his amazing career. And to be a World Champions is also familiar to his wife Rachel, who won a Jet Sky World Championship Title in 2009.

This year the winning MacClugage’s family will arrive on Friday, coming with their first heir, Little Mac to support and root for the Green Energy Team.

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This might be the hardest bike to tame in the series, right? And if you're thinking Petrucci, not shure IODA would find that an interesting idea...

I assume that Pramac has a clause in their contract with Kenny Noyes that they can choose someone instead if him. If so, what is the VALUE of Noyes being the "permanent replacement rider"? At any other track on the circuit, do you think Noyes would have priority over some home-country favorite or even another person like Elias? (There may even be other riders in other series who are allowed to do one offs).

"More importantly, perhaps, Elias' experience with the bike and the tires makes him less likely to crash expensively at the tricky Laguna Seca circuit."

Ha Ha Ha Ha .... Elias as a safe pair of hands... ha ha ha... stop it David... it hurts.

Yes finding a rider in the middle of the season is tough. All the up & coming talent worth putting on the bike is locked away in contract. However picking a rider that binned Luccio's Honda almost every MotoGP race last year & has just been shown the door by Aspar in Moto2 is a strange pathway to a safe pair of hands.

Chris Vermulen would be a better bet if Pramac wants its bike back in one piece.

Sylvain Guintoli would be a interesting choice having won a WSBK race on a Ducati this season only to find his team disintergrate around him. An unemployed rider on the way up

Kenny Noyes? Why? Oh...passport. Just remembered he is a 'septic, not Spanish even though he lives there. He has hardly set the Moto2 world on fire, getting more off the pace each year. Like Elias, Kenny is on the downward slope of his career.

IIRC teams only have to field a "replacement rider" if their rider is missing more than 2 rounds, so it could be that Noyes contract only guarantees him a bike in those conditions.
By the rules, Pramac does not have to replace Barbera for Laguna Seca nor Indy. They just chose to do so, for obvious reasons of media exposure and such (not that Toni is gonna add a third podium to his Ducati career).

It will actually give some insight into how much the tires this year differ from last year. Elias was quite slow last year on the Honda, if he's quicker this year then the tires might be not be quite as intimidating.

they rang my granny first before tony the turtle but they weren't payin enough.

shame cos grannie is vv quick (well quicker than tony) & doesn't blame the tyres, frame, brollys, sunnies, weather, humidity, the food............hehehe....

have to admit, Laguna + old Ducati + Elias, but it shows that there aren't that many options in the table, no matter what rider you prefer to see racing.

And excluding the wonder race made by Mr. Bayliss, i can't remenber seeing any great result with a wild card, in the late years.

So, strangely enough, yes, it seems a "safe" bet ( i'll regret saying this but...).

While Tony has never set the world on fire. He does have experience at Laguna. He also has experience with both Ducati and Bridgestone. His position in the LCR squad seemed to be based on the sponsors wanting the Moto2 champion on that bike. Not LC preferred choice. He also had issues with getting the tires up to temp on the Honda. Something it seems the Ducati is too good at. All that being said. I will be surprised if he finishes in front of RdP and Espagoro.