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Second time lucky for 250 title hopefuls

Second time lucky for 250 title hopefuls

Second time lucky for 250 title hopefuls

The main aspirants to the 250cc World Championship title will be hoping to kick-start their campaign at the second time of asking in Welkom this weekend. With maximum points at the first race in Suzuka going to wildcard Osamu Miyazaki and fellow guest rider Daisaku Sakai gatecrashing into second spot, Frenchman Randy de Puniet, on sixteen points, is the leading full time entrant heading to South Africa.

De Puniet has made a confident start to the 2002 season, picking up his first ever podium finish after qualifying in second place on the grid. The impressive Aprilia rider will face stiff competition this weekend, however, with several factory riders looking to break their duck at the Phakisa Freeway.

Marco Melandri is the only man in the current field to have previously finished a 250 race on the podium at this circuit, having finished third last season when he set a fastest lap during the race which was quicker than the pole time set by Daijiro Katoh. The Italian knows that he must reproduce that sort of form this time around if he his to fend off the emerging threat of Emilio Alzamora, Fonsi Nieto and Roberto Rolfo, who all got a head start in the title race by picking up important points in Japan.

Alzamora will be particularly keen to press his claims, after an encouraging fourth spot last week. The Spaniard is the only other 250 rider to have scored a podium finish at Welkom, having picked up third spot when defending his 125cc title in 2000.

250cc, 2002, Africa's Grand Prix

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