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Elías receives fantastic welcome home

Elías receives fantastic welcome home

The Gresini Racing rider was given a spectacular reception in his hometown of Manresa near Barcelona in Spain on Tuesday when he returned for the first time as Moto2 World Champion.

Toni Elías received a special welcome home in Manresa, Spain on Tuesday as he returned as Moto2 World Champion having secured the inaugural title nine days earlier in Malaysia.

A special celebration organised for the Gresini Racing rider saw a bike procession follow him from his family’s motorcycle shop to Manresa city hall, where he was greeted by local political figures. In the town square a stage was set up and photos and videos of his childhood and career projected onto a big screen, and Elías was also congratulated by those who had played a role in his journey to becoming World Champion.

“This is an incredible moment for me,” said Elías, who also handed out his motorcycle boots and leathers to lucky fans in a special lottery. “For the past nine or ten days since the Malaysia race I couldn’t fully comprehend that my dream had come true – today I can, it’s a reality that I am World Champion! I’ve arrived home and everybody is here. I want to thank all the people who organised this party and everybody in general.”

Reviewing his title-winning season and looking ahead he continued: “This title gives me a little bit of a stronger mentality, which I hope to benefit from next season. I’ll be in MotoGP, I cannot say where but it will be with a good bike and good team! We know to win at this moment is impossible but I think, and am confident, it could be good for the future. As soon as possible we will announce the details.”

Also present was Elías’ Crew Chief Fabrizio Cecchini, who said: “This is a great moment. I never imagined the party would be this big! It’s a beautiful city and the people clearly love Toni a lot. I’m happy he was able to win this title that he deserved. We had to believe, to work hard this season. For a rider like Toni it was difficult to pass from MotoGP to Moto2, but he has believed in it and has brought home the World Championship.”

Commenting on his own plans for next season, Cecchini added: “I don’t know if I’ll be with Toni. But for him this Championship is a great motivation to continue moving forward. I’m sure that he’ll have a stronger mentality that will help him improve even further.”

Antonio Jiménez, who was Elías’ Chief Mechanic in the Gresini set-up in the premier class in 2009 was also on hand to congratulate the rider.

“I think the key to this success is the collaboration between Team Gresini, Toni and Fabrizio Cecchini who has a very good relationship with Toni,” he said. “They already had good success and results together in MotoGP, and this Moto2 title is the result of a good team job.”

On his own plans for 2011 Jiménez added: “My intention is to stay with Team Gresini, which is the most important thing for me. After five years there is no reason for me to change.”

Former 500cc World Champion Alex Criville paid tribute to Elías’ achievement as well, as he joined in the celebrations. The 1999 premier class title winner said: “The title is well deserved. Toni had to take a small step back, moving from MotoGP to Moto2, but now I think he has taken two steps forward. This will probably re-open the doors to MotoGP. I’m sure he can be riding with the best. It’s not easy to get a bike that is 100% if it’s not an official factory machine, you get a satellite bike that lacks a little something. But if not in 2011, I expect that in 2012 Toni will have the best to be at the front.”

Tags:
Moto2, 2010, Toni Elias, Gresini Racing Moto2

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