A lifelong dream is close to becoming a reality for Toni Elias, whose seventh victory of the inaugural Moto2 season at Motegi on Sunday moved him to within striking distance of the title as the series moves to Sepang this weekend.
The Spaniard was determined to win in Japan in honour of the late Shoya Tomizawa and as a gift to Moriwaki at their home race.
His battle with Julian Simon once again showed a demonstration of his quality and his desire to listen to his heart over his head, with the team pleading with him before the race to stay calm and think of the championship.
Thankfully it worked out for the best and this Sunday in Malaysia he has the chance to make his and the team’s dreams come true.
Toni Elias says: "I was really happy to win at Motegi because it was another small but important step towards the title although nothing is for certain just yet. Now I feel even more calm and I go to Sepang, a circuit I love, with the intention of having fun and working hard from the first session towards another win. We have to make sure we are close to Simon to make mathematically certain of the title but we can’t afford to become obsessed by that."
"At Motegi there was always the high risk of a crash but we won and there is no reason to change our strategy this weekend in Malaysia. Hopefully we can work well because I love the track and to win the title there would be a dream come true for me and the team. "
Vladimir Ivanov says: "I struggled at Motegi but I was pleased to finish the race. I will be better in Malaysia and I want to finish higher up than I did in Japan. I don’t know Sepang at all but the layout looks like it should be well suited to my riding style so I will take to it in determined fashion and hopefully come away with a good result."
Fausto Gresini says: "I was delighted with Toni’s result in Japan. It wasn’t an easy race because we had a lot to lose and not much to win but Toni was determined to do it for Tomizawa and because Motegi is the home circuit for Moriwaki, who make our Moto2 bike. After practice Fabrizio Cecchini and I sat down with him and tried to make him understand that it wasn’t so important to beat his most direct rival, which is Simon, but to bring some points home for the championship."
"Even though he agreed it was clear as soon as the race started that he only wanted to win. He was brilliant and for us to win our seventh race of the season is very important. It is always nice to win races because it creates a lot of emotion and it is special for us to do it in Japan because we have such a close relationship with Honda and with the country and its magnificent people."
"Winning at Motegi means everything to our team. Toni has proved once gain that he deserved the title because he is the strongest rider in the class. I don’t really want to say it but to win the title in Malaysia would be fabulous because it was here that we won the 250cc title in 2001 with Daijiro Kato. To do it here again would be marvellous. Toni loves Sepang because of the layout and the high temperatures so hopefully we can do it. A nice cold drink in the Malaysian heat would be lovely! "