Last weekend at the Malaysian Grand Prix, Gresini Racing rider clinched the inaugural Moto2 Championship.
Toni Elias became part of history after taking the title in Moto2, the first motorcycling World Championship to feature a spec engine.
In Moto2, which replaced the 250cc Class, Honda supplies identical tuned CBR600 engines to all riders in order to keep costs down and to give all riders an equal chance of success. The series also features spec tires, ECU and slipper clutch.
The 27-year-old Spaniard finished fourth in Sepang, allowing him to grab the 2010 Moto2 Championship three races early. Although Elias has been a front-running Grand Prix rider for a decade, this is his first world crown.
Going into Phillip Island this weekend for the Malaysian Grand Prix, Elias has won an impressive seven out of 14 races. Elias has quite a background in racing, which is explained in the following biography from Gresini Racing Moto2.
Toni Elias Bio:
Growing up in the family bike shop in Manresa as the son of a ten-times Spanish motocross champion, Toni Elias was destined for a career on two wheels. His early forays into the sport came in pocket-bike and scooter racing, before he began his pro career in the Spanish 125cc Championship in 1998.
After finishing third in the national series the following year he won a ride on a Honda for his first full Grand Prix season in 2000. It was in 2001, however, when the teenager became the revelation of the year after signing up to ride with the junior project run by Alberto Puig, battling for the lower cylinder category title until the end of the season.
He won two races and finished an impressive third, up to this year his equal-best championship finish. Elias´ natural talent and fearless aggression saw him make the successful step up to the 250cc class in 2002, challenging Manuel Poggiali for the title in 2003 until a last-lap crash at Rio cost him victory and the chance of the championship.
Elias struggled to reproduce his best form after switching from Aprilia to Honda for 2004, but flashes of brilliance convinced Fortuna Yamaha to draft him into the MotoGP class in 2005.
The learning process under the Yamaha banner, forming a team with Rubén Xaus, was curtailed by an injury in France, but in the final third of the season Elias was able to demonstrate his evolution in the category.
The Spaniard then rode for two years with Fausto Gresini´s satellite Honda outfit, during which time he continued to show why he is regarded as one of the most exciting riders in MotoGP.
His debut victory came at Portugal in 2006, in one of the greatest races of all time against Valentino Rossi and Kenny Roberts Jr., and although injury at his bogey track of Assen severely affected his 2007 season, he still impressed enough for Luis d´Antin to keep him in the category with his Ducati satellite team.
The Ducati venture proved to be a brief sojourn as, one season of mixed results and a pair of podiums after joining the Alice team, Elias was welcomed back to San Carlo Honda Gresini to spearhead their 2009 project.
His first season with top-end machinery, riding a semi-factory Honda RC212V, saw the Catalan rider make 12 top-10 finishes, with a third place podium at Brno.
Despite this Elias was unable to secure a MotoGP ride for 2010 and instead continue his partnership with Gresini Racing in Moto2, riding a Moriwaki MD600. He started the year as one of the title favorites in the Moto2 class, and throughout the season his wealth of experience and race-craft has shone through as he claimed seven wins, including four in a row over the summer period.
His characteristic "hang-on" riding style and charming personality has won him millions of fans across the globe, and the Spaniard becomes the first ever Moto2 World Champion at the age of 27.
Toni Elias Stats:
Birth date: 26/03/1983
Birth place: Manresa, Spain
First Grand Prix: SPA `99 (in 125cc)
First Pole Position: GBR `01 (in 125cc)
First Podium: FRA `01 (in 125cc)
First GP Victory: NED `01 (125cc)
Grand Prix Starts: 176 (14 in Moto2)
Grand Prix Victories: 17 (7 in Moto2)
Podiums: 43 (8 in Moto2)
Pole Positions:11 (2 in Moto2)
Race Fastest Laps: 12 (2 in Moto2)