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Toni Elías shows maturity in the ´Cathedral´

Toni Elías shows maturity in the ´Cathedral´

Toni Elías demonstrated yesterday that he is no longer a promising young rider but a serious Championship challenger in the most fitting scenery possible: the ´Cathedral´ of motorcycle racing, otherwise known as the Assen circuit. When the Spanish youngster sat down with his team-mates in the Telefónica Movistar Junior Team for breakfast this mornig, he said to team boss Alberto Puig: ´Have you seen the rain?´ He didn´t wait for a response, answering is own question by mumbling ´Well, I guess it´´ll be raining on everyone´, before turning his attention to his cereals.

Four hours later, Toni´s Mum was holding an umbrella for him as he entered the pit lane to take to his 125cc machine and set out on the race of his life. She sees a young son growing up ahead of his time, whilst her husband sees a promising youngster becoming a winning rider.

At exactly three minutes to 12, Toni became the youngest ever Spanish rider to win a Grand Prix. He had all season to break Alex Crivillé's record of 18 years and 359 days, but with just 18 years and 96 days he wrote himself into the history books at the only circuit to have hosted a motorcycle Grand Prix every year since its conception.

Last year Elías´objective was to learn and try and score points. The start of the is season was tricky for him, but on several occasions he showed glimpses of his potential. Then he finished third in Le Mans, losing second place on the last lap when fighting for the victory, before finishing one place off the podium in Mugello. In Catalunya he was denied victory by Cecchinello, who closed the door on him in the final few metres. Yesterday he lapped with Vincent, and to make sure the same thing didn´t happen again he made his move on the penultimate lap and hung on for maximum points, confirming his rapid growth and learning potential, as well as his immense capabilities as a rider.

125cc, 2001, Gauloises Dutch TT, RAC

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