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2009 season review: Toni Elías

2009 season review: Toni Elías

This year was the highest-ever MotoGP end of season classification for the San Carlo Honda Gresini rider, as he placed seventh.

Toni Elías returned to the San Carlo Honda Gresini team for 2009, having spent a year away with Ducati, and the first half of his season was similar to that of team-mate Alex de Angelis as results proved hard to come by.

Two seasons with the Gresini outfit in 2006 and 2007 had produced three podiums, including a win in Portugal in 2006, so with a factory bike at his disposal in 2009 there were high hopes Elías could push for similar results.

He found it difficult to challenge for the top spots in the first seven races of the campaign however, with two ninth places his highest finishes. A qualification spot of fifth at Catalunya made it seem like the Spaniard had found his form in round six, but a crash in the race led to disappointment.

An upturn in fortunes came with back-to-back sixth places at Laguna Seca (where he also qualified in sixth) and Sachsenring (where he rose from 17th on the grid) and, after another crash at Donington, Elías recovered to record his best result of the season in Czech Republic.

His only podium of the year at Brno with a third place behind Valentino Rossi and Dani Pedrosa was followed by a more consistent run throughout the remainder of the campaign, as Elías picked up sixth spot at San Marino, Estoril and in the final race at Valencia.

Elías’ form came too late to hold onto his ride next season with Gresini in the premier class, and while his future still remains undecided he tested a Gresini Moriwaki Moto2 bike in Valencia at the end of the season.

MotoGP, 2009, Toni Elias

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