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Spanish armada to battle for home glory

Spanish armada to battle for home glory

Spanish armada to battle for home glory

An armada of Spanish riders will be battling for more than just points at Jerez this weekend as the 250cc Grand Premio Marlboro de España promises an all out scrap for home glory. Teenage sensation Dani Pedrosa got his first taste of the quarter-litre winners' champagne last week when he became the youngest rider ever to win a 250cc race on his debut in the class, and he will compete fiercely for that honour this weekend with compatriots Fonsi Nieto and Toni Elias, winners of the last two 250 races at Jerez respectively.

Pedrosa, the reigning 125cc World Champion, has raced at Jerez on three occasions in the minor class but has never finished on the podium – a statistic he will be looking to put right in front of 125,000 screaming fans on Sunday. Meanwhile, Nieto and Elias have their own score to settle after a controversial last lap incident in South Africa, when Nieto allegedly knocked the front brake lever of his former team-mate as they surged towards the final corner.

Although the sell-out crowd will not be looking much further than the Spanish trio, there are four other 250cc Grand Prix winners looking to return to the top step at Jerez, including Argentinean rider Sebastian Porto, who recovered from an off-track excursion to finish third in South Africa and clinch his first podium since Phillip Island in October 2002. Porto has an added incentive to do well this weekend, with his main sponsors Repsol, the Spanish petroleum giants, confirming their continued support for his title challenge at a special ceremony in Buenos Aires last week.

Reigning World Champion Manuel Poggiali will also be looking for a big result at the Spanish circuit having also never finished on the podium there. The closest he came was in the 125cc race in 2002, when he was disqualified from the race after a collision with Alex De Angelis in the final bend.

De Angelis was robbed of the podium on that occasion but made up for his disappointment last year when he finished third. This year the youngster arrives in Spain on top form and ready to exact revenge on his San Marino compatriot after collecting an excellent fifth place on his 250cc debut ride in South Africa.


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