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Dovizioso following in Pedrosa's tyre marks

Dovizioso following in Pedrosa's tyre marks

Dovizioso following in Pedrosa's tyre marks

Andrea Dovizioso's quest to follow in Dani Pedrosa's tyre marks and seal the 125cc World Championship for Honda look as assured as the Spaniard's assault on the 250cc class after nine rounds.

A clear victory for the Italian at Donington Park, where the next four riders in the championship standings all failed to score any points, extended the series lead he has held since the opening round in South Africa to 32 points.

It is an advantage Dovizioso is unlikely to want to give up, and the statistics of a consistent season so far certainly don't suggest that he is about to. The 18 year old is the only rider in all three classes to have finished in the top four at the first nine races of the year and is the first rider to do so in the 125cc class since 1987, when Fausto Gresini won the first ten.

Meanwhile, his current tally of 163 points is the highest total achieved in the 125cc class after nine races since Kazuto Sakata scored 165 in 1998, when he went on to clinch the title. Furthermore, Dovizioso has started from pole four times this year, whilst no other rider has had more than one.

However, one of his main title contenders in the early stages of the season, Casey Stoner, is back to try and resuscitate his challenge on the KTM after missing two races with a broken collarbone. Stoner lies fourth in the current standings, 25-points behind Hector Barberá, who is in turn two points adrift of second-placed Roberto Locatelli – winner of the 2000 race here when he went on to clinch the title.

Elsewhere, home rider Marketa Janakova returns to continue her Grand Prix education after also missing two races through injury, whilst fellow Czech riders Vaclav Bittman and Patrik Vostarek join a wildcard list which also includes Georg Fröhlich, Michael Ranseder and Tomoyoshi Koyama.

125cc, 2004, GAULOISES GRAND PRIX ČESKÉ REPUBLIKY, Andrea Dovizioso, Dani Pedrosa

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