After his abysmal finish in the Italian GP at Mugello, rumors are swirling in the MotoGP paddock that Toni Elias has been given two to three races (it depends on which Spanish journalist you want to believe) to turn around his flailing MotoGP season. Affixed to the back of the pack, speculation that Dorna will charge Elias rent on the back-row grid position is exaggerated, but not far from the truth. A true backmarker, the Spanish rider has essentially been left high & dry by his team, as a struggle has emerged in the LCR Honda garage over where to take Elias’s RC212V in its setup.
With Elias and his crew butting heads over how to make the satellite Honda go faster, the reigning Moto2 Champion has been left to sort out his own chassis and suspension settings on race day, which means a lot of rider one-on-one time with the Öhlins truck. While the LCR Honda crew has been making the changes that Elias ultimately wants, the team hasn’t been offering any input on arriving at those settings, essentially letting the Spaniard sink or swim on his own accord. This game of cat and mouse is apparently over however, and the death clock on Toni Elias’s MotoGP career appears to be ticking.
Talking to Catalunya Radio, Oscar Haro, press officer for LCR Honda, told the radio station on-air that changes are well underway at LCR Honda, and discontent is rife. “Mugello was a disaster, Toni realized he didn’t go well,” added Haro. “In Germany, the settings will be restored to the ones that HRC says, and the team will do the technical part and Toni the role of rider. The RC212V is more than a competitive bike and the only one that isn’t going well is his.” Absent from Monday’s MotoGP test, Elias is reportedly only confirmed for the next three MotoGP rounds: Sachsenring, Laguna Seca, and Brno.
So far this season, Elias has managed a best finish of 8th at Silverstone, a race which saw only 12 of the 17 riders finish in the wet conditions. Last or near-last at every other round, LCR Honda certainly can’t do worse in the results than at the past MotoGP rounds, but there is some debate as to whom could fill Elias’s shoes should he get nixed. Not only are the current MotoGP bikes difficult to adjust to and perform well on, you’d be hard pressed to see a Moto2 rider leave his team mid-season, and the usual suspect of John Hopkins is not only entrenched in the Suzuki camp, but also having a very promising season in British Superbike that he’d be reluctant to abandon. We heard some good speculation about Garry McCoy wanting a go on the Honda, now wouldn’t that be something?