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De Puniet looking to overturn home rule

De Puniet looking to overturn home rule

De Puniet looking to overturn home rule

Randy De Puniet returns to the scene of his maiden Grand Prix victory with the express intention of returning to the top step of the podium and consolidating his authoritarian start to the 2004 season, but facing another stiff challenge from a host of ‘home' riders.

The Frenchman was absent from the rostrum at Mugello on Sunday for the first time this season after his Aprilia suffered a broken cylinder on the final bend, conceding victory to Sebastian Porto and allowing Dani Pedrosa and reigning World Champion Manuel Poggiali through for second and third place respectively.

De Puniet now arrives in Catalunya with a slender three-point series lead over Pedrosa, who lives just a few kilometres from the circuit where he scored 125cc victory last season and would retake the series lead with his third victory from the opening five races of his rookie 250cc campaign.

Toni Elias' return to the podium at Le Mans proved to be something of a false dawn as he struggled to fifth place in Italy and, like Pedrosa, will be hoping to put on a good show for his hometown crowd in Barcelona.

The Catalan capital is also home during the season to Porto, and the Argentinean will be equally keen to match his performance at Mugello, where he walked away with pole position, the fastest lap of the race and the winner's trophy to move up to third place in the championship ahead of team-mate Fonsi Nieto.


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