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Melandri to face Spanish Armada in Jerez

Melandri to face Spanish Armada in Jerez

Melandri to face Spanish Armada in Jerez

After a freak race in wet conditions at Suzuka, normal service was resumed in Welkom two weeks ago when Marco Melandri took an imperious victory from the first to the final corner in glorious sunshine. The Italian heads for the third round of the World Championship in Jerez this weekend with a host of home riders looking to overthrow his status as the only current 250 rider to have ever won a race in the class.

Spanish Aprilia team-mates Fonsi Nieto and Toni Elias will battle for local favouritism with Honda man Emilio Alzamora. Fonsi is high on confidence after taking third place in South Africa whilst his compatriot Alzamora will be looking to build on a disappointing seventh place after picking up fourth in Japan. Elias became a huge favourite on Iberian shores in 2001 when he took the 125 class by storm, a reputation he will be keen to live up to in just his third race aboard the quarter-litre machine.

Fighting the Italian corner alongside Melandri are Franco Battaini, Roberto Locatelli and Roberto Rolfo. Battaini leads the rider standings after two races, level on points with Frenchman Randy de Puniet, and arrives in Spain on the back of pole position and second place at Welkom two weeks ago. Locatelli missed out on the podium on that occasion after lapping in second place until the closing stages and will be seeking revenge here, whilst Rolfo lurks just five points behind Battaini in sixth place as he continues his adaptation to the factory Honda.

After some good qualifying performances Alex Debon will be hoping to consolidate his efforts with a high race finish at his home track, as will fellow Spaniard Raul Jara. The youngster, who rides for a private team set up by the Spanish Motorcycling Federation, started from the second row in South Africa before crashing out of the race and will be desperate to impress in front of the local fans and sponsors.

Tags:
250cc, 2002, Gran Premio Marlboro de España, Marco Melandri

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