The plight of Toni Elias remains a mystery to both himself and to many in the paddock. The Spaniard with the cheeky smile has fallen out of favor with his current Gresini team, despite having been on the podium for them this season and being the last man to have won a race for the team back in 2006. What's more, his salary demands (believed to be in the region of 600,000 euros) put him well beyond the reach of the remaining cash-strapped satellite teams in the paddock, leaving Elias without a seat in MotoGP for 2010.
Though Elias will be leaving MotoGP, he won't be leaving the paddock. According to reports in the Spanish press, Elias has signed up with Sito Pons' new Moto2 team to contest the Moto2 season. According to Motoworld.es, the Pons Racing team is due to field bikes produced by Kalex, the German engineering and design geniuses Alexander Baumgärtel and Klaus Hirsekorn, though both AS.com and Motocuatro report that no choice has yet been made about which bikes the team will run. The decision to field Kalex machinery is certainly in line with the scale and ambition of Sito Pons' project: the former 250 champion told a respected US journalist at Estoril that his strategy was to buy the best equipment available, with money being no object.
This may also explain Pons' choice of Toni Elias as a rider. Elias is undoubtedly the best rider likely to be in the Moto2 class, with both extensive experience of four-stroke prototype racing in MotoGP, as well as a wealth of experience in the 250cc class. Elias will be the hot favorite to take the Moto2 title next season, and that crown could help him on his way to get back into the MotoGP class, though this time on his own terms.
The deal has not yet been made official, and Elias is still holding off on confirming the deal, saying only that he is in talks. Those talks are unlikely to last for long.