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Back to the future for Poggiali

Back to the future for Poggiali

Back to the future for Poggiali

Any rider to have fallen under the pretense that the 125cc World Championship is going to be an easier proposition in 2005 after the departure of Anrea Dovizioso, Jorge Lorenzo, Casey Stoner, Hector Barberá and Roberto Locatelli can think again.

The return of former World Champion Manuel Poggiali, who celebrates his 22nd birthday today, is sure to add an extra edge to the minor category as the San Marino rider returns home to Gilera, the factory which helped guide him to his first world title in 2001.

Poggiali was at Jerez at the end of January for a first shakedown on the machine but was struck down by flu and says the important thing for him between now and the start of the season is to get used to riding a 125cc machine again.

"The first test didn't go particularly well," admitted Poggialli, who also won the 250cc World Championship in his rookie season in 2003. "I think that's all I need right now – to ride and to get as many laps under my belt as possible.

"I'm treating this year as a completely new experience – new bike, new category and new team. Of the 30 mechanics who I worked with in 2001 and 2002 I think I've only seen one this time.

"So now is not the time to be setting objectives or expectations for the new season. I just need to familiarise myself with my new surroundings, get to know the team and get used to riding a 125 again."

Poggiali will also have a completely new bunch of rivals to get used to, with the majority of his former 125cc sparring partners having since moved on. "I must admit that I don't know many of the riders in 125cc now. Virtually all of the guys I raced against in 2001 and 2002 have left or are in a different category. I didn't watch many of the races last year either so I don't really know what to expect."

Despite his cautious approach, Poggiali insists his return to the 125cc class is not a step backwards and claims it is exactly what he needs to find his way again after a disappointing second season with Aprilia in 250cc.

"I decided to come back to 125cc because, after last season, I wanted to start winning races again and I think I can find a good feeling quickly with this bike," he declared.

125cc, 2005

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