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Poggiali pips Ui in last gasp 125 thriller

Poggiali pips Ui in last gasp 125 thriller

The race proceedings got off to a flyer this morning with a thrilling battle in the 125 race which ended up with last lap head-to-head for both 1st and 3rd places. The win eventually went to Gilera´s Manuel Poggiali after a photo finish with L+M Derbi´s Youichi Ui. The San Marino youngster, who is currently in second place in the championship, played a waiting game to take his second win of the season. The struggle for third place was just as exciting, with championship leader Toni Elias fighting it out with Italian Simone Sanna on the last lap, coming close to taking each other off a number of times.

Poggiali got a poor start from his pole position, but managed to stay with a front group of four, led by Youichi Ui, which also included Elias and Sanna. This pack pulled away from fifth positioned Daniel Pedrosa, and it looked from early on as if the podium would be made from these riders. As the gap opened up to about 8 seconds, Sanna began dropping back, unable to keep up with Ui´s pace setting. So it seemed as if the front three had been decided, just positions to fight for. However 6 laps from the end, Ui put in a circuit record and only Poggiali could stay with him, Elias consigned to third at best.

Poggiali waited until the last lap, and the last bend to attack, knowing his Gilera had more speed than the Derbi, as the two came to the line, Poggiali edged out Ui by 0.011 seconds, literally a hair´s breadth between them. Behind them a magnificent tussle was taking place, Sanna had closed to Elias and every corner saw their positions chopping and changing, and it seemed as if they would end up on the gravel rather than the podium. Nevertheless, Elias came through an attempted elbow from Sanna and survived the bikes coming together on numerous occasions to take third.

Elias still leads the championship from Poggiali, with the gap reduced to 13 points, while Ui has leapfrogged the retired Cecchinello and Azuma to move into third, 39 points off the young Spaniard.

125cc, 2001, Grande Premio Marlboro de Portugal, RAC

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