Toni Elias replace Hector Barbera for Pramac Ducati

Tuesday, July 24, 2012
You never know what's around the corner in Motorsport, on or off track.

Just over a week ago Toni Elias was left without a ride after parting company with the Aspar Moto2 team, the former champion having struggled to adapt to the Suter chassis this season.

But while his fully employed former Moto2 rivals head for their summer break, Elias will be racing in the premier MotoGP class at Laguna Seca this weekend - and possibly again at Indianapolis in mid-August.

That's because the Spaniard has been called up by the Pramac Ducati team to replace injured countryman Hector Barbera, who has broken his leg in a training incident.

Elias raced for the Pramac Ducati team in 2008 and his performance that year remains the most successful by a satellite Desmosedici rider, in terms of rostrums.

Indeed, Elias' pair of 2008 podiums - a second and third place - equals Valentino Rossi's rostrum tally after a year and half at the factory Ducati team. No other satellite Ducati rider has taken more than a single podium in a season.

Elias, a full time MotoGP rider from 2005-2009, claimed a thrilling MotoGP win for Honda Gresini at Estoril in 2006, In 2010 he stepped down to win the inaugural Moto2 title with Gresini, paving the way for an ill-fated MotoGP return with Honda LCR in 2011.

The 29-year-old then returned to Moto2 this year seeking to become the championship's first double title winner, but could only manage a best finish of seventh from his nine Aspar starts.

Elias will make his 2012 MotoGP debut during opening practice at Laguna Seca on Friday.

Barbera, who claimed his first ever MotoGP front-row start at last weekend's Mugello round, is eleventh in the championship with a best race finish of seventh on the original 'Valencia-spec' version of the GP12.

Fellow satellite Ducati rider Karel Abraham is expected to make his return from injury at Laguna Seca.

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