LAS VEGAS – Toni Elias, former Moto2 World Champion, headlines the latest invitees to the Superprestigio of the Americas presented by Yamaha at Las Vegas’ Orleans Arena on Saturday, Nov. 21.
Elias, from Spain, just completed the MotoGP season racing for Forward Racing Yamaha as a mid-season replacement rider. Joining Elias is fellow MotoGP rider Anthony West of Australia, who like Elias, ended 2015 as a MotoGP replacement rider for AB Honda. Also new to the Superprestigio of the Americas roster is MotoAmerica’s young KTM RC Cup Champion Gage McAllister and MotoAmerica Superstock 1000 race winner Taylor Knapp.
Elias, 32, is a 16-year veteran of Grand Prix racing, having raced in all three class categories of GP racing. He has 17-career GP wins, including a legendary MotoGP victory. Elias is known for one of the most exciting victories in MotoGP. It came at the Portuguese Motorcycle Grand Prix in 2006. Elias was in third on the final lap, but made daring passes on Valentino Rossi and Kenny Roberts Jr. to take over the lead. Rossi actually got back into the lead but Elias tucked in and drafted past Rossi at the checkered flag. The race was so close it had to be reviewed to determine the winner. It was the closest finish in MotoGP since the advent of electronic timing. Elias became Moto2 World Champion in 2010, scoring seven Moto2 victories along the way.
Elias is an avid flat track rider. He uses flat track as a training method and raced in the Barcelona Superprestigio last year.
“I’m very much looking forward to racing in the Superprestigio of the Americas,” Elias said. “America is the home of flat track racing and it will be an honor to have the chance to race against some of the very best riders in America.
“My biggest goal is to purchase an American-made steel shoe while I’m there,” Elias grinned. “but I would also like to make the final to be able to race against the best flat trackers on their home ground.”
Anthony West will be no stranger to flat track competition. Like many of his famous Australian predecessors, West cut his teeth racing dirt-track from a young age. By the time he was 15 he had two national titles under his belt and was ready to take his first steps into road racing. West has world championship race victories to his credit. He scored his first World Championship 250cc Grand Prix win at the Dutch TT in 2003 and then won the Moto2 race there in 2014.
The Superprestigio of the Americas will cap off a busy year for MotoAmerica KTM RC Cup Champion Gage McAllister. The 20-year-old Californian was one of the busier riders in America, as he raced in both the KTM RC Cup and Superstock 600 classes. And at season’s end, McAllister was crowned as the inaugural MotoAmerica KTM RC Cup Champion after winning five of the nine races. Last month he also represented America in the KTM RC World Cup Final at the Silverstone Circuit in Great Britain. Along the way he found time to contest and win the AMA Supermoto Championship as well.
Taylor Knapp was one of the most consistent riders in MotoAmerica Superstock 1000 this year. The Michigander finished runner-up in the series scoring 12 podiums in 16 rounds, including a victory at Virginia International Raceway riding with TOBC Racing.