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Young guns locked and loaded for Donington duel

Young guns locked and loaded for Donington duel

Young guns locked and loaded for Donington duel

The latest episode in the teenage battle for 125cc World Championship supremacy will unfold in front of the British public this weekend as the Grand Prix circus rolls into Donington Park. Reigning World Champion Manuel Poggiali, still just nineteen years old, this weekend defends his a 20 point lead in the current championship from 16 year old Honda starlet Dani Pedrosa.

Spaniard Pedrosa arrives in Britain buoyed by his first career win in the last race at Assen. The historic Dutch TT victory made him the youngest ever non-Italian to win a Grand Prix and the third youngest winner of all time. This weekend he will face another stern examination from Poggiali, who himself is on an impressive run of form.

The Gilera rider once again finished on the podium in Holland, making it six top three finishes from the first seven races. In the last twenty races since his debut win at Le Mans last year he has clocked up sixteen podium finishes, five wins and an average of more than 17 points per race. Only Valentino Rossi has scored more points in all classes during this period.

Frenchman Arnaud Vincent led the championship in the early stages but has slipped recently, with just two top five finishes from the last four races. He hangs onto third place but is coming under increasing pressure from Lucio Cecchinello, who narrowly missed out on the podium at Assen after lapping in second place for much of the race. The Italian veteran already has two victories to his name this year.

Two former Donington winners will line up on the 125 grid this weekend, both looking to improve on disappointing starts to the 2002 season. Derbi rider Youichi Ui, runner-up in the final championship standings last season, took one of his six victories here in 2001, having also stood atop the podium one year previously. Honda man Masao Azuma took the win in 1999 but has yet to pick up a rostrum finish in 2002.

125cc, 2002, Cinzano British Grand Prix

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