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Rivals look to spoil happy return for Pedrosa

Rivals look to spoil happy return for Pedrosa

Rivals look to spoil happy return for Pedrosa

One year ago Daniel Pedrosa celebrated the 125cc World Championship title with a lap of the Ricardo Tormo circuit in a convertible car after breaking both of his ankles in a practice crash at Phillip Island. This weekend the Spaniard returns to Valencia hoping to complete 27 victorious laps on his 250cc Honda after winning the quarter-litre title in Australia at the first attempt.

Pedrosa is sure to be one of the main attractions for the local support this weekend as he looks to end a perfect year with his seventh victory of the season but he will come under pressure from equally patriotic compatriots such as Toni Elías and Fonsi Nieto as well as the form man in the category, Sebastián Porto.

Despite losing out on the title in Australia, Porto still has plenty to fight for in Valencia this weekend and every reason to try and spoil Pedrosa's party. Having already scored 256 points, the Argentinean can set a new record for the highest points total amassed by a runner-up in the 250cc World Championship if he finishes in the top two on Sunday, surpassing the 273 points scored by Tetsuya Harada when finishing second to Daijiro Kato in 2001.

Porto also has the chance to equal the record for most poles in a season in the 250cc class - currently held by Toni Mang with ten in 1981 on a Kawasaki - and can seal the constructor's title for Aprilia. After Australia, Honda have just one point more than the Italian factory, meaning that whichever manufacturer has the highest placed machine in Valencia will take the title.

Recent history suggests that Porto and Aprilia have the advantage over Pedrosa and Honda, who have taken two victories at Valencia with Tohru Ukawa in 1999 and Daijiro Kato in 2001. Meanwhile, Aprilia riders have won for the past two years with Marco Melandri in 2002 and Randy De Puniet last year, whilst Yamaha took victory in 2000 with Shinya Nakano.

Elsewhere, Pedrosa's fellow rookie Alex de Angelis will be looking to make sure that the headlines are not completely dominated by the World Champion, having enjoyed his best performance of the season so far in Australia. De Angelis took second place at Phillip Island and this weekend returns to one of the few circuits where he has previous data on the 250cc Aprilia, having tested there last winter, looking for his first victory.


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