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Elias begins third home GP in now familiar fashion

Elias begins third home GP in now familiar fashion

It has become a familiar sight to see Toni Elias at the top of the time-sheets at the end of the first free practice session, and the young Spaniard did not let us down in Valencia this morning. The current 125cc Championship leader, Elias will be aiming to get a good result in the final European race, in front of what has quickly become an adoring public. The fans came in force yesterday to the Day of Champions and chanted the young 18 year-old´s name, and he gave them more reason to do so after another quality outing in the first 45-minute practice.

Elias set a time of 1´42.199, which is still some way behind Youichi Ui´s pole record of last year, but with three more sessions before the race, that will surely be beaten. Behind him came Italian veteran Lucio Cecchinello, a livewire throughout the three-quarters of an hour, and his compatriot Max Sabbatani. Elias´ main threats in the championship come from within the Derbi-Gilera garage, with San Marino Gilera rider Manuel Poggiali 13 points behind him after a win in Portugal. Today, he finished fifth fastest behind the rider Elias edged out to fourth in Estoril, Simone Sanna. The Derbi rider Youichi Ui, beaten into second by a hair´s breadth at the same GP, crashed out with just five minutes remaining of the session, and only managed to make the 13th fastest time. Ui is currently third and 39 points behind Elias in the overall standings.

Elias will hope that his form can continue in front of the home crowd, which will undoubtedly be enormous and vociferous, he is keen to take a comfortable lead into the non-European GPs and this race is key to that effect.

125cc, 2001, Gran Premio Marlboro de la Comunitat Valenciana, FP1

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