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French eyes on the title as the 125 World Championship heads for Le Mans
The legendary Bugatti circuit in Le Mans is this weekend host to the Polini Grand Prix de France, when the local bike fanatics will get their first chance to cheer on 125 World Championship leader Arnaud Vincent. After just three rounds the Frenchman holds an 24 point lead over second-placed Manuel Poggiali, and arrives at his home circuit brimming with confidence after taking his third consecutive podium finish at Jerez in the last round.
Vincent´s joy in Spain was in stark contrast to the fortunes of current World Champion Poggiali, whose disappointment at crashing out of second place on the final corner was compounded after he remounted to finish tenth before being disqualified. The San Marino rider was judged to have ridden in an irresponsible manner causing danger to Alex de Angelis, who crashed spectacularly out of the podium battle when he was charged by his compatriot. Poggiali will be hoping for better luck at Le Mans, the scene of his first ever victory, although like De Angelis he is still recovering from injuries sustained that famous skirmish.
Dani Pedrosa arrives in France in third place in the rider standings and hoping to emulate the performance of his former team-mate and close friend Toni Elias, who just one year ago picked up an astonishing podium here in one of the closest finishes ever. The 16 year old saw Elias make a strong title challenge towards the end of the season after an anonymous start and knows that with 37 points from the first three races he is well placed to fight for honours as the season progresses.
The French crowd will be hoping for a similar spectacle this time around and on the evidence of the last round they could be in for a treat. Race winner Lucio Cecchinello set a new lap record last year at Le Mans on his way to finishing in fifth place whilst the likes of Youichi Ui and Nobby Ueda, both former winners at this circuit, are looking to kick start their seasons after disappointing results in the first three races.
16 years ago
16 years ago