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Poggiali the provisional preseason pole holder

Poggiali the provisional preseason pole holder

Poggiali the provisional preseason pole holder

Manuel Poggiali has stepped up to the quarter-litre Aprilia during the closed season period, and instantly established himself as a candidate for the 250cc World Championship title. The San Marino youngster was the fastest man at official tests in Valencia recently, clocking a best time of 1´36.0, a lap which would have put him on the front row of the grid at the final Grand Prix of the 2002 season. Previously the teenager, who replaces World Champion Marco Melandri in the MS Aprilia berth, had clocked a 1´44.4 at Jerez in just his second day aboard the machine – a sensational time which would have given him pole position at the Spanish Grand Prix back in May 2002.

The form of the ex-125cc World Champion is a stark warning to factory colleagues Fonsi Nieto and Toni Elias, as well as Honda rival and fellow title hopeful Roberto Rolfo. The Spanish Aprilia team-mates were left floundering at Valencia with laps of 1´38.5 and 1´38.2 respectively and they were outpaced not only by Poggiali, but also De Puniet, Battaini, Olive and Faubel. Meanwhile Rolfo was two seconds slower than Poggiali in a separate test at Jerez as he got to grips with the Honda RSW and clocked a best effort of 1´46.4. With a return to Jerez alongside all of his rivals now on the horizon, Poggiali will be relishing the chance to consolidate his position as the provisional preseason pole holder.

Tags:
250cc, 2003

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