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Elias and Smith set for Le Mans milestones

Elias and Smith set for Le Mans milestones

Moto2™ riders Toni Elías and Bradley Smith will both set significant career milestones at this weekend’s Monster Energy Grand Prix de France in Le Mans, with Elías making his 200th GP start and Smith his 100th.

Mapfre Aspar Team’s Elías will become only the 17th rider in the 64-year history of Grand Prix racing to reach the milestone of 200 Grand Prix starts across all classes once the lights go out at the French circuit.

Elias entered the 125cc Grand Prix series full time in 2000, after making three wild-card rides during 1999, after which he competed for two years in the class. He then made the step up to 250cc in 2002, before heading to MotoGP™ in 2005. The Spaniard took his only win in 2006 with the Fortuna Gresini Honda team at Estoril by a margin of 0.002 seconds over Valentino Rossi.

In 2010 he stepped down to ride in the first year of Moto2 and became world champion at his first attempt. He immediately returned to MotoGP, yet following a difficult year he has once again moved back to try and reclaim the Moto2 title.

Coinciding with Elías’ 200, is Tech 3 Racing rider Bradley Smith’s 100th Grand Prix start. At the age of 21 years and 174 days, he will become the youngest British rider of all-time to reach that milestone, and will lie in third place overall behind Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing – MotoGP) and Sandro Cortese (Red Bull KTM Ajo – Moto3™). Smith made his Grand Prix debut at 15 in the 125cc class at the opening race of the 2006 season at Jerez. He made 80 starts in the 125cc class before moving up to Moto2 at the start of last year.

Both riders have not fared quite as they had hoped at the start of this season. In the first three races Smith has finished in ninth, 11th and 10th, while Elías has finished 13th, ninth and seventh. Smith, on-board his in-house built Mistral 610 chassis will however be buoyed this weekend, as the Le Mans is the team’s home track, while Elías undertook a private test at Spanish track Albacete last Friday to fine-tune the set-up on his Suter.

Elías and Smith currently lie only one point apart in eighth and ninth in the championship respectively.

Moto2, 2012, MONSTER ENERGY GRAND PRIX DE FRANCE, Toni Elias, Bradley Smith

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