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The hunt intensifies as consistent challengers emerge

The hunt intensifies as consistent challengers emerge

The hunt intensifies as consistent challengers emerge

Manuel Poggiali remains on top of the 250cc rider standings but, like Valentino Rossi in the MotoGP class, is coming under intense pressure from the chasing bunch and will have to remain calm and consistent if he wants to hang on to his fifteen point championship lead this weekend. Fonsi Nieto consolidated his early season progression with his first victory of the year at Donington, moving up to second place in the championship and finally emerging as a strong contender to repeat his title assault from last season.

Nieto´s victory in Great Britain followed on the back of maiden wins for Randy De Puniet at Catalunya and Anthony West in Holland, meaning Poggiali has now gone three races without a maximum points haul. He may need one this weekend as De Puniet continues to recover strength thanks to intense physiotherapy on leg, arm and shoulder injuries sustained at Assen, whilst Toni Elias looks to bounce back from his own barren spell after failing to top the podium since taking back to back victories at Jerez and Le Mans.

The young Spaniard enjoyed a memorable scrap with Poggiali at this circuit in the 125cc race two years ago, eventually beating the World Champion-elect to second place in a race won by Simone Sanna. Elias finished sixth here in the quarter-litre race last year but will be hoping to do much better this time around as he looks to re-establish his own title credentials in a 250cc World Championship which remains within the grasp of some six or seven riders at the halfway stage.

250cc, 2003, Cinzano Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland

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