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The 125 battlefield promises to be as combative and entertaining as ever

The 125 battlefield promises to be as combative and entertaining as ever

The 125 battlefield promises to be as combative and entertaining as ever

The 2001 season in the 125 class will be remembered for some of the most combative, open racing ever seen in Grand Prix. It was a tale of young against old, with seasoned veterans like Ui and Cecchinello taking on the emerging teenage talent of Poggiali, Elias and Pedrosa.

Although Elias has now stepped up to 250, this year promises more of the same. Defending World Champion Poggiali arrives at Suzuka heading the youngest ever entry list for a Grand Prix, with no fewer than 15 teenagers set to take part. Established youngsters such as Olivé, de Angelis and Smrz will be looking to join the list of serious pretenders to Poggiali\'s crown, whilst youthful promise arrives to the competition from Italy, Spain, Great Britain, Hungary and Finland.

The main challenge to the number 1 plate is expected to come from Ui. The Japanese veteran last year broke his own record for the most wins in a season without winning the World Championship, after topping the podium no fewer than six times. If the Derbi rider can overcome the inconsistency which led to non-points scoring finishes on four occasions in 2001 then he can realistically hope to achieve his goal after consecutive seasons of glorious disappointment.

As Cecchinello grapples with the added responsibility of managing teams in 125 and 250, the chase for honours is also sure to include Azuma, Ueda and Sanna, all of whom claimed victories in 2001 and took starring roles at Suzuka a year ago. Ueda crashed out of the lead with four laps to go whilst compatriot Azuma took victory and Sanna third place in a scintillating start to the championship. The fanatical Japanese fans will be baying for a repeat of that excitement this time around, and the 125 chargers will undoubtedly be doing their best to deliver.

Tags:
125cc, 2002, SKYY VODKA Grand Prix of Japan

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