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Elias at the double with another pole/victory success in Sepang

Elias at the double with another pole/victory success in Sepang

Elias at the double with another pole/victory success in Sepang

Toni Elias was again the fastest 250cc rider in the World one week after his pole position and comprehensive victory in Japan. The Spaniard, who still has an outside shot at the title, was fastest in qualification again in Sepang and made light work of his second consecutive win; his third in four races and his fourth podium in the last five rounds.

The quarter-litre contest was a largely static and processional affair as Elias' speed was far superior to that of his rivals and at one stage he was stretching a second a lap over Manuel Poggiali and team-mate Fonsi Nieto.

Needing as many points as possible over Poggiali, the Championship leader, Elias threw the occasional glance over his shoulder to see how Nieto was fairing against the black-leathered rider from San Marino and could only watch his countryman keeping in the Aprilia rider's shadow.

Then race came alive on the final lap as Nieto launched his charge. The duo changed places several times with shot tyres through the circulation and a slight mistake by Nieto on the last corner meant that Poggiali could just reach the finish line first by a mere one hundredth of a second to be runner-up. Roby Rolfo shook off the challenge of an under-strength and sick Randy de Puniet to take his fourth 4th place of the season while Franco Battaini, Naoki Matsudo, Sebas Porto (in 8th despite having to pull into the pits for a jump start penalty), Ant West and Alex Bandolini passed the chequered flag to fill the top ten positions.

Elias is now the second most successful 250cc Spanish rider ever (behind Sito Pons) with six career victories, five of which have been recorded this season. He currently ties on the same Championship points total as Rolfo and both trail Poggiali by 25 in the standings with 50 still up for grabs.

250cc, 2003, Marlboro Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix

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