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Intense 2003 125cc series nears completion with runner-up berth still up for grabs
The 2003 125cc World Championship has fulfilled its role perfectly over the last seven months. Not only has it provided some electrifying racing action and a fascinating Championship chase with no rider in particular enjoying a dominant advantage but also acted as a springboard for a wave of new motorcycle racing talent.The contest comes to an end after 15 races, 8 winners, and 15 different ‘podiumees' next week at Valencia and although new World Champ Dani Pedrosa will be sorely missed there is still the matter of the number two plate to be won for 2004. Alex De Angelis currently holds the ranking by seven points over Stefano Perugini, who, after his second consecutive non-scoring race due to the crash at Phillip Island, has now racked up 3 DNFs in the last five GPs; a streak that effectively saw him concede the title to Pedrosa and is in real danger of losing the runner-up position he arguably deserves after taking two victories and another two podiums this year. De Angelis himself must be looking at his two ‘0s' at Japan and France within the first four races as reasons why he was not able to push Pedrosa any further. The rider from San Marino has scored points at every GP since Mugello, including five podiums (one less than Pedrosa), all third positions. In fourth place and 18 points away from second is Andrea Dovizioso. The Italian teenager has been the next fastest Honda rider to Pedrosa and lies just 10 points behind his countryman Perugini. Hector Barbera is still in with a distant shout of De Angelis as he rests sixth, with a one point deficit to Dovizioso. De Angelis and Dovizioso are the only riders in the top eight not have won a race this season. From the 2003 series seven riders have climbed onto the podium for the first time, six of them over the age of 20 (four being 17 or younger). Another five have taken their first ever GP win. The high figure of different victors has meant that Perdrosa won the crown despite picking up only five winners trophies and making a further one appearance in the top three. The young Honda man completed a consistent campaign, scoring one DNF and crossing the finish line five times in the top six but his Championship owes just as much to the failings of Stefano Perugini (4 DNFs), Steve Jenkner (6 DNFs) and Lucio Cecchinello (three podiums including two wins in the first five races but then embarking on an amazing run of 8 DNFs in the latter part of the season) who all dropped out of the running as valid contenders at one stage or another.
15 years ago
15 years ago