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Roby Rolfo hunting the Championship lead
Oblivious to the inconsistent endeavours of his rivals, Roberto Rolfo has quietly been going about his own Championship quest with earnest intentions. He is easily one of, if not ‘the', most consistent riders in the series and after his podium result in Motegi, is now ideally placed for a late assault on the number one spot held for so long (since the first GP but by no means out of touching distance) by Manuel Poggiali.The rider from the Fortuna Honda team left Japan having recovered second spot overall, a standing that he held for stretch already this year. After gaining the runner-up position in Motegi he continues his pursuit of the leader thanks to crossing the line just ahead of Poggiali in a close finish. Now the gap to the Aprilia man stands at 18 points with three races to run. Rolfo has scored points in every round this year and is the only rider in the category to have continued to do so after the GP at Assen. His statistics show impressive consistency. In the last two seasons he has finished in the top ten from 43 out of 45 races since the opening GP of 2001 in Japan. The only occasions in the spell of 45 where he did not complete the distances were at the Dutch TT in 2001 and the GP of Czech Republic last year. Now the moment has arrived when the rider from Turín knows that he has to raise his speed that extra tiny notch to match the level of his consistency. A victory, or subsequently a DNF from Poggiali seem to be the elements needed to crest the top of the table. In this fight there is also the looming threat of Toni Elías and Randy De Puniet. In contrast, the hopes of Fonsi Nieto seem to have practically evaporated with his eighth position finish on Sunday. Since his first ever GP win (that occurred only last July in Germany), Rolfo has taken two fourth positions and two runner-up spots, 91 points in five races, six more than Poggiali in the same period, notable figures but not enough to debunk the leader whose only error in the second part of the year, was a lowly eighth place finish in Germany thanks to a race crash.
15 years ago