Forward Racing Sign Toni Elias, Will Race Remainder Of Season

Things appear to be looking up for Forward Racing. After a very dark period when the future of the team was in danger, following the arrest of team owner Giovanni Cuzari, the team is moving on to a slightly more stable footing. Earlier this week, they announced that former Moto2 champion Toni Elias is to ride for the team for the last five races of the 2015 season. Elias will be replacing Claudio Corti, who has stood in for Stefan Bradl after the German departed for Aprilia.

Though the press release makes no mention of it, it seems likely that the signing of Elias will help strengthen the financial basis of the team. Speaking to and MCN at Misano, team boss Cuzari said that "95%" of the team's sponsors had returned after he had explained that the corruption charges against him were to be dropped. Cuzari also expressed optimism at being back in MotoGP for 2016. Though the team is too late to secure the use of Yamahas for next season, Cuzari was confident of obtaining alternative equipment, mentioning talks with both Ducati and Aprilia for the supply of bikes. All that depends on the view of Dorna, however. The fate of the team lies in the hands of senior Dorna management, who must make a decision on whether to allow Forward Racing to race in MotoGP again in 2016. A decision is expected before Aragon.

Below is the press release announcing the signing of Elias:

Toni Elias will be riding the Yamaha Forward until the end of the season

Toni Elias is the new rider of the Forward Racing team until the end of the 2015 season. The former Moto2 World Champion will join, in fact, the Swiss team alongside Loris Baz starting from the Movistar Grand Prix of Aragon scheduled next weekend on the MotorLand track.

It will be a welcome return to the premier class of motorcycling for the Spaniard, after debuting in 2005 with the Fortuna Yamaha. Elias has already raced this year in Indianapolis replacing the injured Karel Abraham; he finished the race in 22nd position.

Special thanks to Claudio Corti who raced with the team from the Sachsenring Grand Prix until the home race at Misano. We would like to praise him for his professionalism especially when facing such a difficult situation; we wish him the best for his future and his career.

Giovanni Cuzari

"We are delighted to welcome Toni Elias to our team for the rest of the season, five races to go, two of which are in Spain. We are proud to have a former World Champion riding the Yamaha Forward for the remaining 5 races. Special thanks to Claudio, who has always been close to Forward Racing, and has stayed with us in the past few races putting himself fully at the team disposal".

Toni Elias -24

"I can’t be happier to be back racing in MotoGP. This year I was already on track at Indianapolis but only for one race, with Forward I get the chance to finish the season. I wish to thank Giovanni and the whole team for this great opportunity. The goal is to work hard and enjoy the ride: the results will come. I am very motivated and enthusiastic”.

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Welcome back, Harimau Toni!
I hope he gets a chance to test the Michelins and goes well.

With Toni, you never know what you're gonna get. I really hope he can make the bike and tires work. If so, lookout mid-field!

I know Toni probably brings in some money, and has shown some real talent in the past, but that was quite a while ago. He won the moto2 title, probably, because he was the rider with many years experience in motogp while all his rivals were career two stroke riders. You'll note that he didn't do so well returning to moto2 after everyone else had caught up. His return to motogp on the bridgestones was a travesty, and although motogp is coming back to michelins, are they going to be the same squidgy ones that he's used to? I think michelin will have taken a little bit of lead from BS and stiffened the carcass slightly.

I think Forward, if they didn't need the money, could have found a better rider in one of the lower classes to bring up.

That we continue to see so many re-treads in this class. Melandri, Elias, DeAngelis to name just a few.

And....why is there no mention of getting Suzuki to pony up and provide more bikes? The delay of their seamless gearbox and seemingly non-existent upgrades would point towards a recurrence of their past dedication to the class.