Toni Elias has been drafted in to replace the injured Hector Barbera at Laguna Seca. The Spaniard had recently parted ways with the Aspar team in Moto2, meaning he was immediately available to take the ride, and given Elias' prior experience with the team - Elias rode for the squad back in 2008 - and with the Bridgestone tires, Elias was the obvious candidate.
The Pramac team had a prior agreement with Kenny Noyes, the former Moto2 rider currently contesting the Spanish Moto2 championship, as permanent replacement rider. In the end, the American lost out to Elias on the basis of the Spaniard's previous experience with both the Bridgestone tires and the Ducati Desmosedici. Despite Elias' obvious struggles with the Bridgestone tires last season, both Ducati and Pramac must be hoping that the new, softer construction Bridgestones will be kinder to Elias' style than their 2011 predecessors. More importantly, perhaps, Elias' experience with the bike and the tires makes him less likely to crash expensively at the tricky Laguna Seca circuit.
Below is the press release from the team announcing Elias as Barbera's replacement:
TONI ELIAS WILL RIDE THE PRAMAC DUCATI BIKE FOR THE LAGUNA SECA ROUND
After a trip of eight races around the European soil, the MotoGP World Championship riders take their second intercontinental fly of the season this weekend to the Red Bull US Grand Prix.
The iconic Laguna Seca circuit in California is ready to welcome the only the Premier Class paddock (the Moto2 and 125cc classes sitting this event out), for the first of the two US rounds on the 2012 calendar.
Unfortunately, the Pramac Racing Team rider Héctor Barberà will miss out on this first American round, due to his recent training incident when he fractured the left fibula and tibia. Héctor underwent successful surgery at the Instituto Universitario USP Dexeus last Sunday. The unlucky Spaniard, these days has began the rehabilitation and, reasonably, he will be able to run a race in 4 or 6 weeks, as Doctor Mir, a specialist surgeon who carried out the operation, said after the surgery.
Héctor will be replace by the Spaniard rider Tony Elias, who already rode for the Pramac Racing Team in 2008, achieving two amazing podiums in Brno and in Misano.
The 29-years old rider made his international racing debut in the 125cc World Championship in 2000, finishing 3rd in 2001 and taking his first win in the Dutch TT at the prestigious Assen circuit.
In the following years, Tony was able to clinch to the inaugural Moto2 World Championship at the Malaysian Grand Prix with three rounds to spare.
This year, Tony was riding with the Aspar Racing Team aboard on Suter machine in Moto2 class but both sides have announced that they were at the point of parting ways. Therefore Elias, until few days ago, was a rider without a bike to run with. Now he has the opportunity to show his potential for a race, at the spectacular Laguna Seca circuit.
Laguna Seca sits on the side of a hill just outside the coastal town of Monterey, a couple of hours south of San Francisco. The sometimes intense dry heat, unpredictable asphalt and anti-clockwise layout provide a break from the norm and the riders are forced to adapt their style somewhat after a summer on the fast and wide European tracks. The track boasts some of the most spectacular elevation changes and dramatic corners on the World Championship circuits, the most notorious of which is the infamous ‘corkscrew.'
During this American weekend, Tony will get the support of two very important and special guests of the Pramac Racing Team: Chris MacClugage and his wife, Rachel.
Mr. MacClugage is considered the best jet ski rider ever and it is demonstrated by the fifteenth World Jet Sky Championship that he won during his amazing career. And to be a World Champions is also familiar to his wife Rachel, who won a Jet Sky World Championship Title in 2009.
This year the winning MacClugage’s family will arrive on Friday, coming with their first heir, Little Mac to support and root for the Green Energy Team.