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High speed 18th birthday for Manuel Poggiali
Manuel Poggiali turned 18 on the first day of IRTA tests at the circuit of Jerez, and his favourite present was temporary leadership of the first full classification of the season. The rider, who hails from San Marino, will contest his second full Grand Prix season in Gilera colours after their return to 125cc competition.
´I´m extremely proud to be representing Gilera in the next World Championships,´ explained the youngster. ´It´s one of the most prestigious names in Italian racing history and is capable of new sporting achievements. The mechanical base will be the same as the Derbi and I won´t have any problems adapting.´
Poggiali made his first World Championship podium at Assen last year, where he finished third behind Ui and Ueda. This was undoubtedly the high point of his season. ´There were also some pretty low points´ he admits, ´the worst of all being the fall in South Africa at the very first race of the season which kept me out of two Grand Prix. Then I fell in Germany - it was less serious but it knocked me back just as much psychologically because I could have won´.
Poggiali´s objective for this season is clear. ´I want to be consistently with the front pack, and give Gilera something to be proud about. I don´t want to put any more pressure on myself than is necessary, but in such a competitive environment you have to give everything all the time, and always try to be the best. When I go out on the track I only think about how I´m going to win´.
17 years ago
17 years ago