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Elías and Nieto refuse to give in despite Brazilian slip-up

Elías and Nieto refuse to give in despite Brazilian slip-up

Elías and Nieto refuse to give in despite Brazilian slip-up

Spanish hopes of lifting the 250cc World Championship took a huge battering in Brazil at the weekend after a disastrous race for the Repsol Telefónica Movistar riders Toni Elías and Fonsi Nieto. A last lap crash for Elías and a mechanical breakdown for Nieto just minutes into the race left both riders out of touch of winner and series leader Manuel Poggiali, but the pair have insisted that the title battle is still an open affair.

"It was a perfect weekend until Saturday, and it was a bitter finish for me," said Elias, who rejoined the race but failed to score any points as he limped across the line in last place. "The championship has become a little more difficult for us now, but there are still four races left and a hundred points to play for. My objective was to cut down the points gap to Poggiali, but at the end it wasn't to be. I tried to escape but I couldn't, both he and I were dicing every lap, and in the end it went bad for me. On the last lap I rushed my braking in a bumpy area and it sent me to the ground. Anyway, that's racing. Today I made an error but I will do everything possible to make the difference up again. I wanted to win and it didn't go right for me. In Motegi we will continue to work hard, and try and make up the lost points."

By the time Elias made it back to the box, Nieto was already showered and changed after only lasting three laps. "We had a few problems with the set-up over the weekend," explained Nieto. "In the warm-up, I tried a different bike which I didn't like too much, so for the race I opted for the bike from the first day, which I felt quite comfortable with and could ride fast. At the start I got off well, and was behind Porto and Rolfo riding quite comfortably, and just as I thought about getting past them to chase down Poggiali and Toni, the engine just stopped. It was a shame because with all the problems we have had, today I was sure that we could get a good result. But anyway, that's how it goes, there are four races still remaining and nothing is lost yet."

Despite their optimism, the championship is now a bleak prospect for both Elías and Nieto, who are 39 and 47 points behind Poggiali respectively with 100 to play for.

250cc, 2003, Pablo Nieto

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