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A look back at the careers of Alzamora, Azuma and Cecchinello

A look back at the careers of Alzamora, Azuma and Cecchinello

A look back at the careers of Alzamora, Azuma and Cecchinello

The Grand Prix of Valencia several weeks ago saw the closing chapter in the career of three riders who have been a major presence in the 125cc class throughout the last decade.

Emilio Alzamora ended a nine year career in GP racing at his home event after a difficult season where he grabbed only 2 points. The final placing of 31st was in direct contrast to his campaign of glory in 1999 when he was crowned World Champion and the last Spanish rider to achieve the feat in all classifications before Dani Pedrosa. By virtue of his title Alzamora is deemed the most successful of the retirees, his vital stats read:

Age: 30
GP wins: 4
Podiums (inc victories): 26
Fastest Laps: 5
125cc Champ record:
1994 – 22nd
1995 – 3rd
1996 – 4th
1997 – 17th
1998 – 21st
1999 – 1st
2000 – 3rd
Last GP win: Portugal 2000
Last GP podium: Motegi, 2000
2003 position: 31st

The Catalan also gained four podium places in the 250 category over two seasons and recorded a highest placing of 7th overall in both 2001 and 2002.

As a team owner Lucio Cecchinello still has a very important role to play in the GP paddock even though his tears in Valencia signified the culmination of a 10 year stint as a 125cc regular. The charismatic Italian has the second most GP victories of the trio with seven trophies and even grabbed two this year until his form nose-dived in the latter half of the term. Cecchinello never achieved his World Championship dream but his 19 podiums sustained over six seasons and three top five finishes in the standings confirms his status as one of the top riders of the recent years.

Age: 34
GP wins: 7
Podiums (inc victories): 19
Fastest Laps: 10
125cc Champ record:
1993 - DNP
1994 – 30th
1996 – 15th
1997 – 14th
1998 – 5th
1999 – 9th
2000 – 11th
2001 – 4th
2002 – 4th
Last GP win: Italy, 2003
Last GP Podium: Italy, 2003
2003 position: 9th

Masao Azuma completes the departing troupe. Along with names like Sakata, Aoki, Ueda and Ui, Azuma can rightfully call himself one of the pioneering Japanese riders and is the most successful of the trio finishing their careers at Valencia. After seven years at the top Azuma earned ten chequered flags and climbed the podium steps on a further ten occasions, the last of which arrived at a wet Phillip Island last month. The 32 year old ‘rain-master' was another of the vast collective of loyal 125cc racers who never lifted the title but his five consecutive top ten Championship positions from 1998 to 2002 (including four inside the top five) establish the dedicated Honda rider as one of the main protagonists of the series.

Age: 32
GP wins: 10
GP Podiums (inc victories): 20
Fastest Laps: 9
125cc Champ record:
1997 – 15th
1998 – 4th
1999 – 3rd
2000 – 4th
2001 – 5th
2002 – 8th
Last GP win: Brazil, 2002
Last GP podium: Australia, 2003
2003 position: 16th

Their final ‘private' race in Spain saw Cecchinello come out on top with 9th position, Azuma was 15th and Alzamora, absorbed in the emotion of the day, crossing the line down in 24th.

125cc, 2003

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