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Conflicting memories for Pedrosa and De Puniet

Conflicting memories for Pedrosa and De Puniet

Conflicting memories for Pedrosa and De Puniet

The 250cc World Championship battle heads to Assen this weekend with conflicting memories of the Dutch TT circuit for the series' two main protagonists. Current leader Randy De Puniet is looking to overturn a poor record in Holland having crashed out of the race there for the past two consecutive seasons, whilst Dani Pedrosa will be calling on more positive recollections as he looks to exert more pressure on the Frenchman at the top of the championship.

Honda prodigy Pedrosa took his maiden victory at Assen in the 125cc class in 2002 and, after two wins and two second places from the first five races of his rookie quarter-litre campaign, he will be confident of another top result as he looks to cut back an eight-point deficit to De Puniet after losing to his Aprilia rival on home territory at Catalunya last week.

With both De Puniet and Pedrosa already on more than double the points tally of Roby Rolfo in sixth place, it seems the only men who are able to haul themselves back into the title chase could be Sebastian Porto, Fonsi Nieto and Toni Elias, who make up the current top five. Porto took his only victory of the season just over two weeks ago at Mugello whilst Nieto and Elias are both looking to propel themselves into the title chase with their first taste of the winner's champagne this weekend.

Anthony West has made recent improvements after a disappointing start on the privateer Aprilia although it seems his best chance of a first podium of the season is a repeat of the heavy thunderstorms which paved the way for his maiden victory at this circuit last season.

Elsewhere, Assen promises to provide a welcome boost to the Campetella Racing team, with all three of their riders having plenty of reason for optimism. Sylvain Guintoli celebrates his 22nd birthday on the first day of qualifying at the track where he scored his first and only podium one year ago, whilst Joan Olivé scored his only Grand Prix podium there in the 125cc race in 2001.

Meanwhile, the youngsters' veteran team-mate Franco Battaini's second place at Assen one year ago was the best result of his career and the last time he stood on the podium.

250cc, 2004, GAULOISES TT ASSEN, Dani Pedrosa

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