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125cc class rejuvenated by introduction of under-25 rule

125cc class rejuvenated by introduction of under-25 rule

The FIM´s decision to limit the access age to the 125cc class at 25 years old, is a step towards the rejuvenation of the category, and consolidates its position as the school that future GP talents will graduate from. As of this season no rider will be able to make their debut in the smallest GP class, or take part as a wild-card rider, if they were 25 or over at the start of the year. The restrictions obviously leave aside those riders who have already ridden in the category, but it means that riders will generally begin their careers in the junior class at a much younger age, giving rise to a concentration of young talent.

Last season, the average age of the first 20 riders in the 125cc World Championship was 23.5 years old. Ten of those twenty riders were 25 or under, whilst seven of them were under 20. This latter group was formed by World Champion Manuel Poggiali alongside Toni Elias, Daniel Pedrosa, Alex De Angelis, Jakub Smrz, Joan Olive and Angel Rodriguez. However Poggiali and Elias at 18 and Pedrosa at 16, were the only teenagers in the end of season top ten.

The elder craftsmen who will be looking to keep the youngsters at bay again this year also had the lion´s share of results in 2001. Championship runner-up Youichi Ui is 29 years old, Lucio Cecchinello, who came fourth, is 32, while fifth-placed Masao Azuma was thirty last year. The category´s oldest rider was Japan´s Nobby Ueda who, after his 34th birthday in July, came ninth overall in the championship and was the winner of one Grand Prix.

125cc, 2001

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