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Final race deciders of the past

Final race deciders of the past

Final race deciders of the past

The 250cc World Championship title will be decided at Valencia next weekend in the final race of the 2003 season. Roberto Rolfo lies seven points behind Manuel Poggiali and is the only rider capable of overhauling the man who has led the series since the opening race, when he took victory on his 250cc debut at Suzuka. Since the scoring system was changed in 1977, such that all races counted towards the championship, there have been ten other occasions that the quarter-litre title has been decided at the final race of the year:

1978 – Kork Ballington went into the final race of the year at the Rijeka circuit in the former Yugoslavia leading team-mate Greg Hansford by eleven points. Hansford won the race but Ballington finished third to take the title.

1982 – Jean-Louis Tournadre, who had only taken one victory all year but had scored points at every race, was leading the Championship by eight points going into the final race from Toni Mang who had already had four wins. Mang won the final race at Hockenheim but Tournadre finished fourth to take the title by a single point.

1988 – Sito Pons was leading his fellow Spanish rider Juan Garriga by six points going into the final race of the year in Brazil. Pons coasted to a comfortable third place in the race after Garriga had run off the track on lap two and could only work his way back up to fifth place by the end of the race.

1990 – Carlos Cardus went to the final race of the year at Phillip Island leading John Kocinski by five points. Kocinski won the race and the title while Cardus was forced to retire two laps from the end with a broken gear lever.

1993 – Loris Capirossi was leading Tetsuya Harada by ten points going into the final race of the year at Jarama. Harada won the race and the title with Capirossi finishing in fifth place suffering from tyre problems. Together with the 1990 Championship by Kocinski this is one of only two occasions that the rider going into the final race with a points advantage has failed to take the title.

1994 – Max Biaggi was leading Tady Okada by eight points going into the last GP of the year at Catalunya. Biaggi won a close race and the title, with Okada finishing in fourth place.

1996 – Max Biaggi went to the final race of the year at Eastern Creek leading Ralf Waldmann by a single point. The two riders battled it out in the early part of the race before Biaggi pulled away to take the race win and the title.

1997 – The same two protagonists as the previous year together with Tetsuya Harada all went to the final race with a chance of the title, with Biaggi leading Harada by six points and Waldmann one point further adrift. Waldmann did all he could and won the race at Phillip Island, with Biaggi following him home in second place to take the title by just two points. Harada finished back in fifth place suffering with injuries from a crash during qualifying.

1998 – As in 1993, Loris Capirossi was leading Tetsuya Harada going into the final race of the year in Argentina, this time by the slender margin of four points, with Valentino Rossi a further 14 points further back still having an outside chance of taking the title. Rossi won the race and a last lap collision between Capirossi and Harada resulted in a non-finish for Harada and the title for Capirossi.

2000 – Olivier Jacque and team-mate Shinya Nakano went to the final race of the year separated by just two points, with Jacque having the slight advantage. Daijiro Kato was also in with an outside chance of taking the title, eleven points behind Jacque. The fight for the Championship went right down to the last corner of the last lap at Phillip Island, with Jacque finally taking the race victory by just 0.014 sec from Nakano, and with it the title.

Tags:
250cc, 2003

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