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Opportunity knocks for young hopefuls at Jerez

Opportunity knocks for young hopefuls at Jerez

Opportunity knocks for young hopefuls at Jerez

125cc World Champion Dani Pedrosa's replacement on the factory Honda, Andrea Dovizioso, arrives at the second round of the season in Jerez this weekend knowing that opportunity knocks for a big Grand Prix future if he can emulate the heroics of the young Spaniard and put together the consistency to mount a serious title challenge in the minor class.

Whilst Pedrosa soaks up the adulation of his home fans after a stunning debut 250cc victory at Welkom last week, Dovizioso will be only too aware that his own victory in South Africa extended a record run of 24 races in the category without a back-to-back winner, and that the last person to win consecutive races was Arnaud Vincent on his way to the title in 2002.

Since then a stunning sequence of races has seen thirteen different winners, with seven riders taking their maiden victory – including Dovizioso's effort just over a week ago. It is a statistic which will not only be preying on the young Italian's mind, but also on those of several other of those debut winners – in particular Spaniards Hector Barbera, Pablo Nieto and Jorge Lorenzo, who will be desperate to return to the top step of the podium in front of a sell-out home crowd of over 125,000 people.

Likewise their compatriots Alvaro Bautista and Julian Simon, who look like going from strength to strength in their second season at Grand Prix level and would like nothing more to make their podium bow on home turf. Both riders qualified on the front three rows of the grid and picked up solid points finishes on unfamiliar territory at the Phakisa Freeway in round one and will be confident of building on that this weekend.

Elsewhere, watch out for the emergence of French teenager Mike Di Meglio, a front row starter at Welkom who has experience of Spanish tracks after shining in the 125cc Spanish Championship, and the improving KTM of Casey Stoner – another graduate of the Iberian series riding high on confidence after his first podium with the Austrian machine in round one.

Whilst veteran Italian Roberto Locatelli will also be in the fight for victory and the title, it is the youngsters who now have their chance to follow in Pedrosa's footsteps and join him on the fast-track to MotoGP glory. There would be no better way to start than in front of some of the world's most passionate supporters and committed sponsors in Jerez this weekend.


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