Vote for and revisit the best race of 2003
Six first time Grand Prix winners, nine different victors in 16 races, seven riders making their first appearance on the podium; the 2003 125cc World Championship was simply an exhausting and unrelenting blast of racing from start to finish. Dani Pedrosa's first ever world title is testament to the consistency the Spaniard managed to produce while facing a multi-angled threat for podium places each and every week.
If there was not a last lap charge involving a gaggle of riders then usually it was a daring move or a crash that resonated around the championship standings; an occurrence that saw riders like Lucio Cechinello, Steve Jenkner and Stefano Perugini rapidly fall from the perch as title contenders. Even Pedrosa had to endure a spell of seven races with only one top three finish.
Most of all the 125cc series gave what is a skilful and frighteningly fast sport a sense of romanticism. Teenagers like Thomas Luthi on barely competitive machinery could still stand on the podium while veterans such as Andrea Ballerini could reach the dizzy heights of savouring a previously untouchable GP win.
Here at motograndprix.com we have short-listed five races that we have put forward for you to vote and enjoy all over again. Over the next few weeks you can vote for the race that you think warrants another view and we'll show the highlights on New Year's Day. Alternatively if there are any ‘moments' that you feel we have missed then scribe your thoughts into a special thread on the 125cc forum.
The candidates for ‘Best race of 2003' are:
Arnette Africa's Grand Prix, Welkom
Protagonists: Pedrosa, Ui, Dovizioso, Jenkner
The second GP of the season was also the last time popular Japanese veteran Youichi Ui would be seen fighting for the podium this year. A squabbling pack swapped positions for the duration in arguably the tightest race of 2003. Ui would be nudged out of the top three in sight of the finish line having played the role of the main protagonist over the 24 laps while Pedrosa would fight back from fourth with two laps to go to seal his first 25 points of a Championship-winning term. Eight tenths of a second covered the top five finishers.
Gran Premi Marlboro de Catalunya, Circuit de Catalunya
Protagonists: Pedrosa, Luthi, De Angelis
The emergence of 16 year old Thomas Luthi as a GP force. The Swiss youngster surprisingly tussled with eventual winner Pedrosa and Alex De Angelis. Jorge Lorenzo scored a best ever finish with sixth after an equally close encounter as part of a five rider group barely inseparable crossing the finish line.
Gran Premio Cinzano D'Italia, Mugello
Protagonists: Cecchinello, Pedrosa, Nieto
Less than a second covering the top four riders past the chequered flag this time, the race marked Lucio Cecchinello's second consecutive victory and last career winners trophy. Also notable for the last lap fall of Steve Jenkner.
Cinzano Motorrad GP Deutschland, Sachsenring
Protagonists: Perugini, Stoner, De Angelis
De Angelis was on the pace the whole weekend but the race came down to a three way fight between the Aprilia rider, Stefano Perugini and Casey Stoner. The latter missed out on victory by two tenths of a second after an electrifying last two laps. Stoner's first ever career podium was eclipsed by Perugini's second win of the year that narrowed the Championship gap to leader Pedrosa who finished in fourth.
Cinzano Rio Grand Prix, Brazil
Protagonists: Lorenzo, Stoner, De Angelis
A sensational lap last assault by rookie Jorge Lorenzo, who had been struggling to even score points at the start of the season, saw the Derbi team once more scale the top step of the podium despite looking a spent force in the first few races of the year. Less than a second covered the top six riders over the finish line in a typically late 125cc charge.
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