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Toni Elias confirms Gresini Moto2 ride

Published: 18 January 2010

Spaniard Toni Elias will join the new Moto2 world championship in 2010, riding a Moriwaki machine for Fausto Gresini’s squad.

The 2006 Estoril MotoGP winner, who tested the Moriwaki MD600 machine in Valencia back in early November, will be joined by Russian rider Vladimir Ivanov. 

Elias rode for Gresini in MotoGP last season but was axed with the Italian squad signing former 250GP world champion Marco Simoncelli and Marco Melandri for the 2010 premier class campaign.

Elias, who will start the 250cc two-stroke replacement as a title favourite, said: “I am very pleased to continue racing with Team Gresini because it is like a family to me.

"Alongside Moriwaki we are beginning a new adventure in Moto2. We are extremely confident about the project and we will all work with great determination to get the maximum results possible. ”

Ivanov makes his debut on the world stage having won the Russian Supersport title in 2003 and 2004 and made an impression in the Italian Supersport series in 2009 and the German equivalent in 2006 (two podiums), 2007 (three wins) and 2008 (four wins and second place overall).

Ivanov said: “It is a great moment for me to be joining Team Gresini's Moto2 project because it is one of the most prestigious teams in the world championship.

"I have lots of experience on a Supersport bike and actually rode one last year in the Italian Championship so I am sure that will help me go fast on the Moto2.

"I am very excited to be riding alongside such an experience rider as Toni Elias and I can't wait to get out on track. Hopefully I can compete for some good results.”

Former world 125GP champion Gresini said he expected Elias to be a serious title contender in 2010.

He said: “The Moto2 project is very interesting for our team and we are looking forward to working closely with Moriwaki.

"I am really pleased to be going into such a new project with an experienced rider in Toni Elias and a rookie in Vladimir Ivanov. 

"Having Toni as our lead rider is a source of great motivation for everybody and his experience and professionalism will no doubt rub off on Vladimir and help him.

"Elias is a rider we know well and we have enjoyed great moments with him - he is determined, hardworking and professional and he is prepared to work on development with us.

"He has everything in place to be competitive at every race and there is no reason why the title should not be his target.

"For Vladimir Ivanov this is a completely new challenge and he is already feeding off the enthusiasm this team has transmitted to riders over the years.

"I am sure he is in the right place to enjoy good results. He has lots of experience in Supersport and that should help him adapt easily to Moto2.”