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Dovizioso looks to follow Pedrosa

Dovizioso looks to follow Pedrosa

Dovizioso looks to follow Pedrosa

After inheriting 125cc World Champion Dani Pedrosa's official Honda at the start of the season, Andrea Dovizioso's performances in 2004 have virtually mirrored those of his Spanish contemporary.

The Italian youngster heads to Qatar this weekend defending a 45-point advantage at the top of the championship, two points less than Pedrosa in 250cc, with just four rounds remaining and knows that two wins from the next two races would also ensure that he follows in the Spaniard's footsteps of winning the 2003 title in Malaysia.

Like Pedrosa in this year's quarter-litre series, Dovizioso has led the way since the opening round in South Africa and has benefited from the inconsistency of his main rivals, never less than in the previous round at Motegi when second-placed Roberto Locatelli crashed on the last lap and Hector Barberá, who lies third, retired with a mechanical problem.

Both those riders need to come up with a swift response at the Losail International Circuit on Saturday because any further slip-ups would leave Dovizioso with the simple task of scoring a handful of points at Sepang to make sure of the title. Barberá, in particular, is desperate to get back to winning ways and, after a rollercoaster season, he would love to take the title fight to the wire in his home town of Valencia in the final round.

Technically any of the top five riders can still win the title, with Jorge Lorenzo and Pablo Nieto both holding a mathematical chance going into this weekend's Grand Prix, but the rest of the field know it is realistically down to the top three riders and the challenge over the remaining four races is purely for pride.

Along with Casey Stoner, Steve Jenkner, Stefano Perugini and Andrea Ballerini, Nieto is one of five former winners yet to have taken a victory this season and, with contracts on the line, there would be no better time to prove their talent than at the level playing field of the Losail International Circuit.

125cc, 2004, MARLBORO GRAND PRIX OF QATAR, Andrea Dovizioso, Dani Pedrosa

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