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Pedrosa gets first bite of the cherry

Pedrosa gets first bite of the cherry

Pedrosa gets first bite of the cherry

Dani Pedrosa needs to score just eight more points than Sebastián Porto and finish no lower than eighth place should Randy de Puniet win the race to win the title at Sepang, where he was crowned 125cc World Champion just one year ago. It's Pedrosa's first chance to be proclaimed 250cc World Champion in a stunning rookie season which has seen him rewrite the history book ever since the very first race, when he became the youngest rider to take victory in the class.

The win at Welkom also made him the youngest rider to have won a Grand Prix in two different classes and was the first time that a reigning 125cc World Champion had won the opening round of the 250cc season since Bill Ivy in 1968.

In the third race of the year at Le Mans Pedrosa became the second youngest rider ever to take a 250cc pole and in the thirteen races held so far this year he has taken eleven podium finishes, five victories, three pole positions and five fastest laps. Should he take the necessary points from Porto and De Puniet this weekend, he will become the first rider to win the 125cc title and then the 250cc title in consecutive years since Carlo Ubbiali in 1960.

Whilst Pedrosa has finished on the podium for the past two years in the 125cc class at Sepang, he faces stiff competition this weekend from the man in form, Sebastian Porto. In the last ten races Porto has had four victories, seven podium finishes and started from pole on six occasions. The Argentinean arrives in Malaysia on the back of an authoritative display in Qatar, where he dominated every single session and the race.

De Puniet's crash at Losail resulted in him failing to score points for the first time in 2004, spoiling his record as the only rider in all three classes to have finished among the points at the first twelve rounds of this year and effectively ending his chances of winning the title.

Meanwhile, Toni Elias will be hoping his rollercoaster season hits another peak this weekend after a veritable trough in Qatar, where he struggled to sixth place after losing a knee slider on the warm-up lap and started the race from pit-lane. Elías took a clean sweep at Sepang last year, winning the race after qualifying on pole position and setting a new lap record.

Elsewhere, Fonsi Nieto will also be hoping to provide a much needed boost to his season at a circuit where he has finished on the podium for the last three years, including victory in 2002 after qualifying on pole, whilst privateers Franco Battaini and Hugo Marchand will both be buoyed by their best results of the season, with fourth and ninth respectively, in Qatar.


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