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Taking fifth position at the Rio Grand Prix, Manuel Poggiali took the World Championship title today in the 125 class. Manuel who was born in San Marino on the 14th of February in 1983, has given Gilera another World title, the 13th of their history. The last World Title for Gilera was taken back on the 1st of September 1957 in the 500 class with rider Libero Liberati.

Manuel Poggiali (Gilera Racing Team) 5th, WORLD CHAMPION

´It was a very difficult race. This morning, when I woke up I saw the rain and I cursed. Then I thought that it would be difficult for everyone, so I concentrated on the race. I was more nervous than usual, last night I found it difficult to fall to sleep and even before the start I felt a little nervous, due to the track being wet. For this reason it was hard race and then during the fifth lap my handlebars locked, and I almost crashed. I then felt my entire body freeze. But to tell the truth I was more frightened two laps before when Cecchinello crashed in front of me. All in all there were many risks, and knowing that this was the last race I didn´t have a lot of time to recover. All of this made it very difficult for me to feel calm and to be happy. My goal was to finish the race. From my pit board they gave me my position and how many riders were in the group, so with this I was able to manage my advantage in the classification as best as I possibly could. Then when I passed the chequered flag it finally sank in that I had taken the World Championship, then I was finally able to relax. At that point I had many thoughts going through my mind, I thought about my life and about all of the beautiful and not so beautiful things that have happened me in the past. Luckily I am only 18 and so I have not so many things to think about... Now I feel better, even if I do feel very tired, due to the pressure that I put on myself. I want to dedicate this World Championship title to my poor father, who died two years ago. It was he who placed me on a bike for the very first time, if it wasn´t for him I would have never gone racing in the World Championship. I owe everything that I have achieved to him. Of course I don´t want to forget my team, my friends, Dr Costa, all of the people who are close to me: at this moment it is impossible to remember everyone! I´m the strongest rider in the 125 class and this gives me extreme happiness. Youichi Ui has been a very good rival, he won six races and he was fast at every track. But at the end it´s the point standings that count, and I won many. During this World Championship I believe that I matured very quickly. This evening I will celebrate together with my mum (Antonella) and with my friends that came all the way from Italy. It´s an unforgettable moment, but it will pass quickly as we will have to focus on 2002 very soon. The 2002 season will be even more difficult, because it´s never easy to take another World title. I will use the number one, even if I would like to keep my 54, with which I have always raced: Then I´ll be the rider to fight´

125cc, 2001

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