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Vincent´s lead shrinks after Motegi fiasco

Vincent´s lead shrinks after Motegi fiasco

Vincent´s lead shrinks after Motegi fiasco

As if to prove that no race result is really in the bag until the finish line is crossed the 125cc GP last weekend in Motegi saw some swift and possibly decisive developments in the Championship chase. Before the event got underway the quest for the number one plate seemed to be a two-man challenge between leader Arnaud Vincent and reinging champ Manuel Poggiali, with the San Marino rider poised to capitalize on any mistake from the Frenchman. Unfortunately for Vincent his luck then appeared to vanish.

While Daniel Pedrosa was leading the race Vincent was cruising comfortably in second position towards a decent podium finish, at least until his Aprilia took had other designs. With only three laps to go a problem in the exhaust pipe dropped him out of the top three and set the World Championship on a slightly different course. ´The bike suddenly lost all its power,´ explained the Frenchman after the race. ´I had to stop, correct the carburetion and get back on track; that´s why I was just able to finish and score a point´.

Vincent´s determination earned him 15th place and he still is the only 125cc rider to have scored in every race this season. Although now the championship leader has witnessed his advantage in the standings shrink to only 8 points over Manuel Poggiali, who claimed the runner-up spot on Sunday. After his win in Motegi, Dani Pedrosa re-enters the fray by reducing the deficit from Vincent to just 24 points and 16 with Poggiali.

With only three races left Vincent is confident but realistic: ´I´m just 8 points ahead, I can´t relax now. I fear everyone and nobody at the same time.´ It seems as though the closest Championship this season will have to wait until Valencia for it´s conclusion.

125cc, 2002

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