Melandri to help Aprilia develop MotoGP racer.
Toni Elias to Substitute for Injured Hector Barbera at Laguna Seca
Former Moto2 World Champion Toni Elias is back in the premiere MotoGP class, albeit on a temporary basis. The Pramac Racing satellite Ducati team has signed Elias to race at the U.S. Grand Prix at Laguna Seca in place of Hector Barbera who is sidelined with a broken leg.
Barbera, pictured above, broke his left fibula and tibia in a training accident on July 21 in Spain. Barbera underwent surgery to have a titanium plate and several screws inserted into the leg and is expected to be out four to six weeks. The Spanish rider will miss this week’s U.S. Grand Prix and likely the Aug. 19 Indianapolis Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
For Elias, this marks a return to MotoGP and a quick end to his recent unemployment. Elias started the season racing for the Aspar Racing Moto2 team but the two sides agreed to part ways after the July 15 Italian Grand Prix at Mugello. Aspar has replaced Elias with reigning Spanish National Moto2 Champion Jordi Torres.
Elias has previous ties with Pramac. Elias raced with Pramac under the team name Alice Ducati in 2008, finishing 12th in the final standings but scoring two podium results. Elias also raced four seasons with the Gresini team and one season with LCR, all on Honda machines.
So far, Elias has been tabbed to race in just the Laguna Seca round before the series takes a month off for its mid-summer hiatus. Depending on Barbera’s recovery, Elias may get the call to race in Indianapolis and the following round at the Czech Republic’s Brno circuit, where Elias has scored two of his six career MotoGP podiums.