Rumor: The Clock is Ticking on Toni Elias

07/06/2011 @ 10:09 am, by Jensen Beeler10 COMMENTS

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?

Source: MotoMattersMotoCuatro; Photo: © 2011 Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved

  • RSVDan

    GO GARY!!

    As much as I’d love to see him have a go, I think it would end in tears. His famously slide happy technique would not mesh well with today’s digital bikes I fear.

    Dude can’t afford any more injuries.

  • SBPilot

    Gary McCoy is done and over with he’s in denial and can’t get away from the scene. As RSVDan said, way too many injuries.

    The other person I could think of that wants to get back on the saddle is Troy Bayliss but he suffers the same problem as Hopkins, brand entrenchment. Bayliss wouldn’t ride anything not the colour red with the name Ducati on it due to his affiliation with them.

    Hopkins should take the LCR ride, the bike is competitive as DePuniet showed last year and is probably more so this year. LCR is a top satellite team, Stoner did amazing with them in 06 as well. Suzuki is going no where fast in GP racing, where Hopkins wants to end up, he keeps saying he wants to get back into GP asap. Why is he being so loyal to Suzuki when, and even if Suzuki is in GP next year it will be a much less competitive bike than the rest, and grossly underfunded. Hopkins is blinded by this god given opportunity he feels Suzuki has given him. Sigh, I want him to go well and see him back in GPs. LCR should offer him a very nice contract, he’d probably run top 10 on that bike.

  • SBPilot

    Or maybe one of the Lowes brothers. Sam is riding Honda already. But 600cc Supersport to MotoGP is a massive jump, however, if anyone can do it I think it’s one of them. Alex jumped from 600 to 1000 and claimed Pole in his first race, they are both highly adaptive to speed. In his first year of WSBK Supersport Sam already fights for wins so they are both extremely adaptable, which is what the best riders are. They both are affiliated with Honda actually, in fact Alex probably can’t do anything since he’s replacing a certain injured Jonthan Rea (who in turn could have ridden the LCR, irony!)

  • Faster1

    Memo to Toni: principles are one thing, but being so stubborn as to lose you ride is another,, you’re an idiot if you blow this ticket. Ride like someone else,, anyone else, but keep your ass on the seat and stop bumping your chest into the crank-case mid turn. IT DOESN’T” WORK ON A GP BIKE> !!! I learned to improve my speed by learning from people who were faster than me.

  • 76

    What a mess this one turned into, kinda sucks that the Moto2 champ turned into a dud for GP. As moto2 is extremely entertaining to watch, I think it does very little to prepare riders for GP bikes and tires more importantly. You go from racespec dunlops with about 140hp that wear and ride like a racetire to these uber bridgestones with about 240hp, talk about a learning curve. The guys that do get it first time around really are insane.

    About the LCR team, I have heard to varying degree that your going to do it their way, if not they will leave you high and dry, to this degree is kind of unimaginable.

  • vonich

    I know Jonathan Rea is injured at the moment. but if you going to ask me i think he is better candidate compare to other riders have been mentioned here. To think that toni still have 3 races before he will get axed if this thread is really true. That will give JR sometime to heal.

  • Ed Gray

    I thnk they have been very generous with Toni. He clearly can’t cut it. It is sort of a surprise, but it is clear.

    Replacement Hmmmm… Zemke, national superbike rider from Australia or Britain any of these i would think would give LCR some kind of second opinion. Of course there is no opportunity to test damn it.

  • Ted Baxter

    homeboy should just start grenading LCR’s motors since they are going to kick him out anyway.

  • joe

    I laughed for two minutes at that thought, I hope he does it.

  • Halfie30

    Has no one here watched GP racing for the last 10 years? Has no one followed Elias’ previous GP experience? Have we all forgotten he has not only been on multiple MotoGP podiums, but also won? We are seeing Marco Melandri All over again. I hope if they do can Tony he gets a spot on the world superbike stage, and leaves this dramatic useless GP season behind him. It’s a year when the bikes are obviously winning races a lot more as on ’07 (No offense to Stoner, who I cheered for back then). That means if your not Colin Edwards who has become as valuable as Rossi was to Yamaha for rider feedback, then you more than likely will have a lack luster year, and will be lucky to pick up the same ride in the next. Elias is fully capable of getting this bike in top 5 finishes with the help of his team. He’s not the best development rider, but he shouldn’t have to be on a satellite team. Their should be enough trickle down for him to e competitive with cooperation from all those in question.