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250 chase could narrow further this weekend but Poggiali still holds the reigns

250 chase could narrow further this weekend but Poggiali still holds the reigns

250 chase could narrow further this weekend but Poggiali still holds the reigns

The pursuit of the 250cc World Championship continues apace after a fourth victory of the season for Toni Elias in Japan. The youngster moved up to third place in the standings behind Roby Rolfo and series leader Manuel Poggiali, who maintains an 18-point gap over the Italian and a comfortable 30-point cushion to the Spaniard with third place. Elias is now tying with Nieto and Carlos Cardus in second place as the most successful Spanish rider in the quarter-litre category with 5 wins; the target to beat is, of course, held by ex double World Champ Sito Pons (with 15 victories).

250cc ‘rookie' Poggiali has taken podium results in the last four consecutive races and after a small blip of form during mid-season is now back on course for a fairytale debut year.

Having suffered disappointment with Melandri's breakdown here last season, Poggiali's team will be only too aware that they can take nothing for granted over the final three races, and five riders still have a mathematical chance of winning the title.

Randy De Puniet lies just four points behind Elias in fourth place and ended his run of consecutive top three finishes in every GP since Donington Park because of a painful fall in practice at Motegi, whilst Fonsi Nieto, who re-ignited his title hopes with victory here last season, remains in fifth after a disappointing eighth place in Japan left him 55 points adrift of Poggiali.

The 250cc field will be joined this weekend by two Chinese wildcard riders, Huang Shi Zhao and He Zi Xian, who make their debuts aboard Yamaha machinery in the D'Antin team.

Tags:
250cc, 2003, Marlboro Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix

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