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Cecchinello sets the pace at 125cc IRTA test

Cecchinello sets the pace at 125cc IRTA test

Cecchinello sets the pace at 125cc IRTA test

The smallest GP class today opened their official pre-season testing schedule with the IRTA test at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Cheste, Spain. The 125cc machines took to the Valencian track for what turned out to be a sunny first day, which offered the teams the maximum opportunity to test their 2002 bikes. Italian rider Lucio Cecchinello was fastest as the day came to a close at six o'clock in the afternoon.

The Safilo Oxydo Race - LCR team rider/owner set a quickest lap of 1'40.791, just 0.31 seconds outside the race record. The Italian commented, 'I didn't want to make the best lap really. I just stayed concentrated to try and find the best set-up for the engine and the suspension.' Last year Cecchinello rode his Aprilia into fourth place in the Championship after he took only his second career win during the season. He will be hoping that this year he can improve on that finish as his twilight years as a racer begin.

At the other end of the age range from the 32 year-old, today saw the debuts of two promising youngsters who have attracted much media attention in the off-season. Jorge Lorenzo (14 years old) and Chaz Davies (15) made their first appearances on board the Derbi and Aprilia bikes they will respectively ride. Due to regulations, Lorenzo will not be able to race in the World Championship until after his birthday, which by chance coincides with his home race in Jerez.

Other leading performers today included Pablo Nieto, who after three years with Derbi makes the switch to Aprilia this season. The Spaniard was third quickest today behind Gino Borsoi, and will hope for better fortunes on the Italian manufactured machine. Germany's Klaus Nöhles also set a creditable time on his return to the World Championship arena. The 25 year-old rider raced for the Aprilia Germany 250cc team last year, but was eventually dropped after some below-par performances, and he will be hoping that a fourth-fastest ride today can propel him to better things this year.

Reigning champion Manuel Poggiali made his first appearance sporting the number one plate aboard his Gilera. The San Marino teenager was 15th fastest today with a time of 1'41.793. Tests conclude tomorrow at the circuit, when another youngster Michel Fabrizio will join up with the rest of his Gilera Team Italia set-up after suffering a minor car crash at the weekend.

Official Best Times

125cc

Lucio CECCHINELLO, ITA (Aprilia) - 1'40.791

Gino BORSOI, ITA (Aprilia) - 1'40.932

Pablo NIETO, SPA (Aprilia) - 1'41.088

Klaus NÖHLES, GER (Honda) - 1'41.130

Max SABBATANI, ITA (Aprilia) - 1'41.142

Tags:
125cc, 2001

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