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Motegi 2004: Dovizioso back on top

Motegi 2004: Dovizioso back on top

Motegi 2004: Dovizioso back on top

Last year in Japan, just two weeks after his first blank of the season in Portugal, championship leader Andrea Dovizioso stamped his authority back on the 125 class with victory in a crash-strewn race, interrupted before the mid-distance mark.

At the start of the Japanese GP, Héctor Barberá beat Casey Stoner, Dovizioso and Roberto Locatelli to the holeshot, but the Australian quickly wrested first place from the young Spaniard. On the second lap, a gearbox lever failure put an end to Stoner's promising opening and allowed Dovizioso to move to the head of the field.

From then on, the Honda rider upped the pace to build up a substantial advantage over title rivals Locatelli and Barberá. While the Italian veteran tried to close on his fellow countryman, Barberá was caught by Simone Corsi, Mika Kallio and Jorge Lorenzo.

On the ninth lap, 13th placed Andrea Ballerini high-sided at the exit of the last corner, the Italian walked unscathed from the crash, but Imre Toth was unable to avoid his bike and crashed heavily. With bike debris spread across the main straight, the race director decided to interrupt the race.

A thirteen-lap restart would eventually determine the ultimate classification. From the restart, the front row featured Dovizioso, Locatelli and Corsi, the top three before the interruption of the race, while Barberá and Lorenzo had to restart from the back of the grid as both Spaniards were unable to join the grid in time for the warm-up lap due to mechanical issues.

Despite a strong start, Locatelli failed to shake off Dovizioso with the lead changing hands a number of times. On a decisive last lap, Dovizioso was back in first position when Locatelli crashed before being able to make his move. The former World Champion was able to rejoin the race but had to settle for 14th spot in the end.

No less than six riders were in contention for the remaining podium places: Fabrizio Lai, Kallio, Corsi, Mirko Giansanti and Steve Jenkner. Locatelli's misfortune allowed Lai, aboard the Gilera, and Corsi, Dovizioso's team-mate, to secure their first podium finishes in that order.

Giansanti took fourth ahead of Jenkner, Simoncelli, Lorenzo and Talmacsi. Japanese wildcards Koyama and Kuzuhara completed the top 10.

125cc, 2005, GRAND PRIX OF JAPAN, Andrea Dovizioso

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