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Arnaud Vincent back at the top of the championship

Arnaud Vincent back at the top of the championship

Arnaud Vincent back at the top of the championship

Arnaud Vincent is back on top of the 125cc World Championship, resuming a position he had previously held after a blistering start to the 2002 season. An opening race victory and two second places gave the Frenchman a points advantage which lasted until the start of summer. Engine problems in Mugello resulted in a disappointing ninth place finish and, as a victorious Manuel Poggiali took the series lead, the misery continued for Vincent with eleventh spot in Catalunya and another victory for the World Champion.

The Dutch TT saw a slight improvement for the 27 year old, who finished fourth but remained on the periphery of the title race. Dani Pedrosa was emerging as the main rival to Poggiali and had moved above Vincent in the championship. The magic returned at Donington, however, with Vincent charging to victory from 16th place on the grid. Following up with another win in Germany, the Aprilia man had forced his way back into the title reckoning in the space of a week and was able to enjoy the summer break. He was back on the podium in Brno after an exciting battle with Cecchinello and Pedrosa and completed his resurgence with a masterful wet display at Estoril.

Three victories and one third place mean that Vincent has made up 51 points on Poggiali in just four races and give him a 23 point lead over the San Marino rider. The four flyaway trips in Brazil, Japan, Malaysia and Australia take on huge significance for Poggiali, determined to hang on to his crown before, most probably, moving on to a higher class. The World Champion will be only too aware that 125 points are still up for grabs and Vincent faces a long, hard battle if he wants to become the first French 125cc World Champion.

125cc, 2002, Grande Premio Marlboro de Portugal

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