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Spanish pair go head to head in Valencia showdown

Spanish pair go head to head in Valencia showdown

Spanish pair go head to head in Valencia showdown

With the 250cc World Championship already decided in favour of Marco Melandri in Australia, his great rival Fonsi Nieto will once again have his hands full in Valencia this weekend as he looks to establish his authority over emerging team-mate Toni Elias. A mouth watering head to head is expected to take place between the Spanish Aprilia pair, with the combative Elias free from the shackles of team orders and fully recovered from injuries sustained in a practice crash which saw him struggle in the race at Phillip Island. With a six figure crowd baying them on from the huge grandstands banked around the tight and twisty Ricardo Tormo circuit, newly crowned World Champion Melandri will be keen to dampen the Spanish fireworks as he looks to make amends for a race crash last year which he blamed on Nieto.

Roberto Rolfo looks to have third place in the championship wrapped up but is still looking for a first career win after a season of adaptation aboard the Honda. The Italian feels that bad luck has robbed him of that elusive maiden victory in the past and he can be expected to mount a serious challenge here as he looks to raise his own stakes in the post-season rider market. Rolfo´s Spanish team-mate Emilio Alzamora also has a lot to prove in front of his home crowd and the pair have the added incentive of making sure Honda do not go a whole season without a quarter-litre victory for the first time since 1985.

An added twist to the Mediterranean cocktail could be Spanish-based Argentinean Sebastian Porto, who is tied on points with Elias in fourth place in the championship and has been the highest point scorer behind Melandri over the last seven races. Meanwhile local favourite Alex Debon will be looking to repeat his qualifying performance from last year, when he took second place on the grid behind pole setter Nieto before being foiled by wet conditions in the race, whilst Roberto Locatelli, the only rider in the class to have previously scored victory at Valencia, is looking to end the season on a high before his probable return to the 125 class.

250cc, 2002, Gran Premio Marlboro de la Comunitat Valenciana

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