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Cecchinello takes second ever GP win despite gutsy Elias performance

Cecchinello takes second ever GP win despite gutsy Elias performance

Italian Aprilia rider Lucio Cecchinello this morning took his first win of the season, and only the second GP victory of his career in the 125cc at the Gran Premi Marlboro de Catalunya. In conditions which were looking increasingly gloomy, he held off a superb ride from the brave young Telefonica Movistar Junior Team member Toni Elias. Third place went to San Marino youngster Manuel Poggiali, whose fourth podium spot of the year took him into first position overall in the championship.

Cecchinello had a poor start which saw him relegated to 12th position, but a series of fast laps, and some excellent riding him took him into a leading pack of Elias, Ueda and Perugini. By lap 8, these four riders had broken free from the rest of the chasing pack, and it seemed as though it would be three from four for the rostrum. However, on the next lap, Nobby Ueda made a mistake on his FCC TSR Honda, and slid off the track. It was unfortunate for Perugini, who was forced into the gravel trap, and despite staying in the seat, had dropped down to 14th spot.

So it was left to Cecchinello and Elias to battle it out alone at the front of the race, the 18 year old sitting tight behind him, content to just stay with Cecchinello´s bike. Behind these two about 6 or 7 seconds back, the fight for third raged on between Poggiali, Nieto, Pedrosa, Jenkner, Ui and Azuma.

On the 18th lap, Elias made a great move on the outside that saw him rise to first position, but 3 laps from the end Cecchinello retook the lead. A further attempt to regain the front by Elias on the last lap was held off by the 31 year old Venetian who went on to take only his 9th ever podium spot from 107 starts. Azuma crashed out on the last lap to leave Poggiali in third position and German Steve Jenkner in fourth.

It was Cecchinello´s day, and the owner-rider of the MS Aprilia LCR took away the full 25 points to move up to 4th in the overall standings.

125cc, 2001, Gran Premi Marlboro de Catalunya, RAC

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