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Aprilia armada looking to break Honda stronghold at Le Mans
The 250 World Championship arrives at the Bugatti circuit this weekend with Japanese manufacturers Honda looking to extend an impressive record there in the quarter-litre class having won on each of the nine occasions a GP has been held in Le Mans since 1985. The last non-Honda winner was British rider Alan Carter back in 1983 riding a Yamaha, although the strongest challenge this time around is sure to come from an Aprilia armada bursting with talent and confidence. The Italian factory have taken pole position at each of the first three rounds this season and topped the podium twice.
With Marco Melandri struggling for form and fitness, many eyes will be on Fonsi Nieto, who took an emotional first victory in front of his home fans at Jerez and heads to France on top form. The Spaniard currently has a run of 12 consecutive point scoring finishes which has included nine top six finishes and four podiums. He has also qualified in the top six places on the grid for eleven successive races.
The celebrations in Jerez will not have escaped the attentions of Nieto´s fellow privateer Aprilia rider Randy de Puniet. The Frenchman watched the closing stages of the race on his pit box television after a mid-race crash ended his podium chances and he will be desperate to challenge for a first career win in front of his home fans.
Defending Honda´s honour are Roberto Rolfo and Emilio Alzamora, who finished second and third in Jerez respectively. Rolfo lies second in the World Championship, just three points behind Nieto, in his first season with the factory after switching from Aprilia. Alzamora´s fourth place finish at Le Mans last year was a career best result at that time in the 250cc class.
15 years ago
15 years ago