Toni Elias, the renowned MotoGP race winner and Moto2 champion, has announced his retirement from two-wheel racing. The decision comes after securing a respectable fifth-place finish in the Road America Superbike race on June 4, 2023.
Elias, known for his impressive record of 17 grand prix victories across multiple classes, including 125cc, 250cc, Moto2, and Racing, is particularly remembered for his remarkable triumph over Valentino Rossi in the 2006 Estoril race.
This win marked Elias’ first premier-class rostrum and stood as the last MotoGP victory by a satellite rider until Jack Miller’s triumph in 2016.
After struggling to secure further wins in the 800cc MotoGP class, Elias transitioned to the newly formed Moto2 category in 2010 and clinched the championship title in its inaugural season with Gresini. Despite returning to MotoGP with LCR Honda, Elias failed to make a significant impact and spent the next few seasons accepting temporary MotoGP rides between his Moto2 commitments.
However, Elias experienced a remarkable resurgence when he moved to the United States in 2016. He made a victorious debut in MotoAmerica and went on to claim the championship title in the following season.
Elias continued to compete in MotoAmerica, finishing as the championship runner-up in 2018 and 2019 while riding for Suzuki. His final full campaign took place in 2020, followed by sporadic appearances in races before signing with Team Hammer/Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki for the 2023 season.
After securing a fifth-place finish in the recent race, Elias emotionally announced his retirement on live television, referring to it as his “last dance.” He expressed his gratitude to Chris Ulrich, John Ulrich, Team Hammer, and all those who had supported him throughout his career. Elias acknowledged that his return to racing did not meet his expectations but expressed his appreciation for the enjoyable moments in his final race.
With his retirement, Elias leaves behind an illustrious career that saw him compete at the highest level of motorcycle racing and make a lasting impact on the sport. Fans and fellow riders alike will undoubtedly remember his fierce battles on the track and his significant contributions to the MotoGP and Moto2 championships.