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Fantastic finale to a thrilling 125 race as Poggiali emerges victorious

Fantastic finale to a thrilling 125 race as Poggiali emerges victorious

The thousands of fans at the Valencia Ricardo Tormo circuit had a real treat first thing this morning as the 125 race served up a feast of exciting racing. Under the threat of rain throughout the race, the riders knew that it was always in their advantage to be up near the front, so much so that as Manuel Poggiali crossed the line to finish the race as winner, the first ten riders crossed as a group all within two seconds of the winner. At the end it was a real dive for the line like in Portugal two weeks back, with once again Poggiali emerging successful, but this time snatching victory from under the nose of home rider and championship leader Elias.

The San Marino rider Poggiali had played the waiting game, along with the other pretender to the 125cc crown, Youichi Ui, and left it till the latter stages of the race to come through in to the front three. They had avoided the cut and thrust that had been taking place between Elias, Cecchinello, Sabbatani, Sanna and Jenkner, all of whom took turns in leading the pack. However once the sun began to wane and the rain looked likely, it was a race not for the line, but to be at the front, in case the rain should stop the race as it stood. Ui stormed through the pack with five laps to go and hit the front, aiming to pull out a lead. The twisting circuit meant he couldn´t and once again the 125 race went down to a last lap scrap.

As Sanna took Ui on the second corner, Elias made his way up the order. By the end of the final lap however, these positions hadn´t changed and everything was decided on the final bend. Ui dived to get first into the corner, forcing Sanna to move out wide as Elias stole in the inside. Poggiali and Pedrosa, ever present at the head of the race, got the cleanest line, and ultimately this was the deciding factor. Poggiali had the best run and powered past Elias with metres to go to the line, leaving the Spaniard to take second in front of a raucous crowd. Behind those two, Ui´s tight line meant Pedrosa was able to ease past him, and allowed the 15 year-old taking his first ever podium position in his first World Championship year. Ui was fourth, with Borsoi, Sanna, Jenkner and Cecchinello just behind.

This result has virtually transformed the Championship into a two horse race now, with Manuel Poggiali making up five points on Elias who remains in the lead with 178. Poggiali is 8 behind the Spaniard now, with Ui a further 38 behind him.

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

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