Now that the 2009 season has come to a close, and Toni Elias has signed with his current team boss to move down a class for 2010, there will be a temporary ebb in the debates about who this man is and where he belongs in the sport. There is a long-developing opinion espoused, subscribed to, or at least tacitly accepted by a growing number, that Toni Elias takes the first half of a season to lazily absorb his life in the top tier of motorcycle racing before beginning a mid-season panic where he must suddenly show results good enough to secure a job for the subsequent season. I don't know when this line of reasoning began, but since it seems to pass for critical thinking these days, I, for one, have had enough.
I'll save you some time and give you the punchline up front: Toni Elias has never been on the same bike two years in a row since entering the MotoGP class. How good would your first half of the season be?
Name the current riders who have had great success (say, a win, or frequently on the podium) in their first year on a bike... let's keep it to the MotoGP era: Valentino Rossi, Casey Stoner, Jorge Lorenzo, Dani Pedrosa. There's a familiar list, right? Loris Capirossi with a couple of wins for Ducati. After that, it's a long way to Colin Edwards who featured on the podium a couple times in his first year with Honda and then again with Yamaha, followed by Nicky Hayden in his rookie year, and then Andrea Dovizioso with one podium appearance in his rookie year. Name the rider(s) who scored wins in his first year with more than one team: Rossi.