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Rivals look to give Pedrosa another rough ride

Rivals look to give Pedrosa another rough ride

Rivals look to give Pedrosa another rough ride

Wet weather and a punctured tyre have seen Dani Pedrosa's lead at the top of the 250cc World Championship shrink to 27 points over Randy de Puniet in the last two races, and his rivals will be looking to give the youngster another rough ride at Motegi this weekend.

Pedrosa's plight to impress Honda bosses and take another step towards the quarter-litre title is under threat not only from Aprilia adversaries such as De Puniet and Sebastián Porto, his two main challengers for the title, but also from within factory ranks, where Toni Elías and Hiroshi Aoyama will both be desperate to impress.

Elías returned to form in dramatic fashion with the seventh quarter-litre victory of his career at Estoril two weeks ago, making him second only to Ralf Waldmann in the list of all time 250cc race wins without clinching the title. It is a little late for Elías to put that statistic right this weekend, but a repeat of his victories at this track in the past two seasons will go some way to confirming his potential for a consistent challenge next season after a difficult first year with Honda.

Aoyama, team-mate to Pedrosa, will be looking to challenge for his first victory of the season having impressed as a wildcard rider at Motegi last year. Aoyama has also had an inconsistent season but has shown signs of real potential at circuits he has never previously visited, making him a certain contender at a track where he rode several times on his way to the Japanese 250cc title last season.

Yuki Takahashi current leader of the ultra-competitive national series, also races this weekend despite suffering from the effects of a double fracture to his left ankle. Takahashi tops a typically strong wildcard list, which also features Shuhei Aoyama, reigning 125cc Japanese Champion and brother to Hiroshi, Chojun Kameya, cousin of the most famous 250cc wildcard of all time, Daijiro Kato, veteran campaigner Yusi Fujioka and Yamaha rider Katsuyaki Nakasuka.

Despite such strong competition, Pedrosa can look back on a strong record at Motegi, winning the 125cc race from pole position in 2002 and almost repeating the feat one year later only to suffer mechanical problems on the 16th lap. The Spanish youngster will be hoping for a smoother ride this time around.

250cc, 2004, CAMEL GRAND PRIX OF JAPAN, Dani Pedrosa

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