Toni Elías: "Challenges have made me stronger"

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Friday, 3 February 2012

In an interview with motogp.com, the Spanish rider talks about his intent to become the first double Moto2™ World Champion and his future return to the premier class.

Toni Elías will be at Valencia next week for the three day Moto2 test to kick off his 2012 campaign with the Aspar Team. After a disappointing 2011 season in MotoGP™, the first Moto2 World Champion returns to the intermediate category with the stated goal of fighting for a new title.

You just returned from a few days of training in Andorra. Are you back in shape for the challenges of the new season?

"Yes, I like to prepare with winter mountain sports, I feel good physically and I’m already looking forward to starting work this preseason, so for now I’m very happy."

How do you see the 2012 campaign and your return to Moto2 with the Aspar team?

"My goal is to repeat winning the championship, like I did in 2010. I just have to remember that the level is high, and it’s been really competitive throughout the year. It will be hard, but for our part we are going to focus on making a good season, to work properly and try to reach the first race to be very competitive."

And you will try to become the first double champion in the Moto2 class…

"I would love it, I am going to work hard because it is a dream and I’m very motivated. And I have another motivation, with this team we were close to Championship in 2003, but I didn’t quite make it, and it would be nice to reach that goal now. I’ll have to work hard with the team, fighting every day, and then we will see at the end of the year if we can say we achieved our goals."

What do you think about the 2012 grid and the level of your competitors you are going to face this year?

"There are riders I don’t know and riders whose level I know very well…and I won’t trust either! From what I’ve seen, the most consistent last season was Marc (Márquez), who was a really strong rider and will be difficult to beat, I don’t know how he is physicall at the moment, I hope he recovers 100%. But it’s not only Marc, there will be many other riders who I know very well, like De Angelis, who will have a good bike this year, Iannone, with who I fought a lot against in the past, there are going to be a lot of riders on Kalex like Espargaró, Rabat, Redding and Kallio, and riders who are really fast, like Luthi, Takahashi or Julián Simón, who changed teams this year. And there may be other surprises. I saw the name Gino Rea, who with Gresini could be really strong. Like I said, I’m not ."

And in your own garage, you have the 2011 125cc Champion Nico Terol…

"Yes, Nico and I, we get along really well, I really like him. Last year he won the title and for sure he will be very competitive in Moto2, although he might need a little time and experience."

When addressing the 2010 season, one of your primary motivations was to win the Moto2 title as a passport back to the premier class. Will your aim be the same in 2012?

"Yes this is my goal. My objective has always been to return to MotoGP, I hope that it goes well for me and I can return to the class. Because I had a bad year doesn’t mean I can’t ride at a MotoGP level. But I learned a lot, the challenges have made me stronger, I would say stronger and more experiences and I hope to put it all into practice and return to the class in the future."

What is the verdict on last season-do you feel like you were treated unfairly at times?

"I absolutely do not think I was treated unfairly, tings just happened that way and I don’t want to speak poorly about anyone or start any controversy. I like to look at things positively and the most positive thing about 2011 is that all the difficult situations that I was up against, both on and off the track, have given me more experience. And now I have to apply that and continuing fighting. Just because I had a bad year doesn’t mean it is over. I hope you have Toni for a while longer."

What are your initial impressions about the Aspar team and the Suter bike? Do you think that they can be the benchmark in the class this year?

"It is hard to say. We hope that, together with Suter, we can do a great job, and if we run into problems we can overcome them. Actually, Suter won both Constructors’ Championships, though none of their riders won, and now that is their aim, to take the rider’s Championship. The approach and the strategy will be really important, and from there they can meet their goal."

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