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Nieto and Elías arrive at Estoril with ambitious objectives

Nieto and Elías arrive at Estoril with ambitious objectives

Nieto and Elías arrive at Estoril with ambitious objectives

The riders of the Repsol Telefónica Movistar team Fonsi Nieto and Toni Elías approach the eleventh round of the 250cc World Championship taking place this weekend at Estoril with the same objectives but with slightly different points of view. Nieto, who occupies second place in the standings just nine points behind Manuel Poggiali, arrives in Portugal with the intention to repeat his memorable victory from last year, an aim that would help him assume the top spot in the series and shake-off the pressure of Italian Roberto Rolfo, who trails by only one point.

"I have good memories of Estoril," recalled Nieto. "It is a special circuit for me because last year I took the win in what was a complicated and hard race due to the conditions. I crashed when I was holding second, but luckily I was able to remount and from that moment gain numerous positions. I had a lot of luck that day because as I came over the finish line I experienced another big scare but finally everything worked out OK. My objective here is to win but above all else I want to try and leave the GP as leader of the Championship. It is important to be consistent and try not to make a single error. Physically I am in good shape and I am really looking forward to returning to the top step on the podium. From now we have six races, many points to play for and the Championship is open for all of us."

For his part, Toni Elías will be trying to reduce the advantage held by Poggiali, that currently stands at 19 points, and level out the distance to the other riders in the leading group such as De Puniet, Rolfo and his team-mate. Last year Elias suffered three race crashes in Portugal but was able to restart each time and ended the distance in 13th.

"Estoril is a tricky circuit is which you have to refine the set-up of the bike and riding style," said Elias. "It combines difficult slow and fast corners that need a lot of braking and hard acceleration. It has a large straight and the surface is very bumpy, which makes the set-up of the bike even hard to get right. The wind can also come into play; so overall it will take a lot of work to get a good result this weekend. I will continue in th same vein as Brno and I want to improve so that I am constantly fighting with the riders going for the Championship. Last year here I crashed three times, mainly because of the strong storm. I hope that this season the weather will be different and it won't rain. My objective at this moment is to gain some ground on the Championship leader. Nineteen points is not a lot to scratch off over six races and I will be giving all I have. It will be an interesting situation but I will fight until the last."

250cc, 2003, Pablo Nieto

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