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Nieto notches first GP win by slimmest margin

Nieto notches first GP win by slimmest margin

Nieto notches first GP win by slimmest margin

Pablo Nieto finally earned his first 125cc Grand Prix in Portugal this morning. The Spaniard clinched a typically exciting affair by a bike's length ahead of his team-mate Hector Barbera and pole position holder Alex De Angelis.

In sunny conditions with a light breeze the race had to be fully restarted after a crash between Youichi Ui and Marco Simoncelli on the opening circulation caused the red flags to be bought out. The second version saw up to 11 riders lapping in a group before the action became a little bit more strung out.

The final chase came down to the three podium finishers and Dani Pedrosa with some very close passing moves performed in the last few corners. Nieto ultimately had the drive coming out of the long right-hand turn onto the start-finish straight to collect the chequered flag. It later transpired that De Angelis struggled with rear brake fade. Credit must go to Nieto after ending a five year drought in GP racing without a win and for Barbera who led most of the latter half of the duration although he was forced to start from down in 22nd place on the grid.

Lucio Cecchinello highsided out of the second race in succession and collected Gino Borsoi whose front wheel hit the unfortunate Italian's left arm. Thomas Luthi was an early faller and Steve Jenkner was forced to retire.

Stefano Perugini potentially ended his Championship hopes this season when he crashed out on the same corner where he almost came to brief one lap earlier. The Italian out-braked himself and ran wide entering the first bend on the circuit and proceeded to go one step further when he hit the dirt several minutes later at the same spot. Despite attempts to rejoin the fray his Aprilia was in a worse state and he had to watch Pedrosa stretch out a 38 point advantage with fourth position.

Arnaud Vincent produced an encouraging first ride back with Aprilia with fifth ahead of Jorge Lorenzo, who equals his best ever GP result. Gabor Talmacsi, Andrea Dovizioso, Simone Corsi and Mirko Giansanti completed the top ten.

Pedrosa is now in a very strong position in the standings with Perugini still in second but by only 13 points from De Angelis.

125cc, 2003, Grande Premio Marlboro de Portugal

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