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Poggiali looking for repeat performance

Poggiali looking for repeat performance

Poggiali looking for repeat performance

Manuel Poggiali will be hoping for a repeat performance from last season's 250cc race at the Phakisa Freeway in Welkom if he is to hold off the emerging challenge of Randy De Puniet and take victory in the Africa's Grand Prix this weekend. The eventual World Champion fought for his second victory from the first two races with the Frenchman at this circuit one year ago but, after dominating virtually every single test session throughout the preseason, De Puniet is showing strong signs that this could be the year his undoubted raw talent transcends to the consistency and class of a serious title contender.

The Aprilia pair, who are joined in the Italian factory ranks this season by promising youngster Alex De Angelis and Grand Prix winner Sebastian Porto, as well as the continued presence of Fonsi Nieto, will face a barrage of competition from rival factory Honda, who have doubled their efforts for quarter-litre glory in 2004. After prising Toni Elias from Aprilia to join Roby Rolfo in the factory team, the Japanese manufacturers are also laying on two extra official bikes for 125cc World Champion Dani Pedrosa and 250cc Japanese Champion Hiroshi Aoyama.

Elsewhere, strong privateer challenges are expected from Campetella Racing, who have snapped up promising youngster Joan Olivé to form a three man line-up alongside last season's podium regulars Franco Battaini and Sylvain Guintoli, and the Equipe de France, who have signed former 125cc World Champion Arnaud Vincent for his first season at quarter-litre level.


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