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Pedrosa leads the chase to Donington Park

Pedrosa leads the chase to Donington Park

Pedrosa leads the chase to Donington Park

After being denied in Germany by Honda prodigy Dani Pedrosa, Aprilia are back in the hunt for their 100th 250cc World Championship victory at Donington Park this weekend, a circuit where they already boast seven wins from the last ten seasons.

The last of those British victories came one season ago, courtesy of Spanish rider Fonsi Nieto, but the odds of a repeat performance are slim this weekend as Pedrosa's rookie season goes from strength to strength.

The flying teenager battered down another obstacle in Germany last weekend, clinching a dominant victory at a circuit where he had never previously managed a podium and extending his series lead to by 25 points over Randy De Puniet.

Pedrosa's cushion over the Frenchman is now equivalent to a victory and, with almost another win in hand over the next highest challenger Sebastian Porto and outside challengers such as Nieto, Toni Elias, Manuel Poggiali and Roby Rolfo all suffering from inconsistent form, it is a gap which looks increasingly unassailable.

The patchy form of Pedrosa's pursuers gives Alex De Angelis the chance to make further progress in the championship, fresh on the back of a morale-boosting third place in Germany, his first podium finish since moving to the 250cc class at the start of the season.

Fellow rookie Hiroshi Aoyama, Pedrosa's team-mate, is also on form after equalling his best finish of the season with fourth place at Sachsening on his first visit to the notoriously difficult circuit.

Elsewhere, there are birthday celebrations for the two veterans of the class this weekend, with Naoki Matsudo, who finished on the podium at Donington in 2000, celebrating his 31st birthday on race day and Franco Battaini, the oldest of rider in the class, having turned 32 on the day before qualifying.

250cc, 2004, Dani Pedrosa

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