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125cc favourites and outsiders

125cc favourites and outsiders

125cc favourites and outsiders

Although the unpredictable 125cc category always offers level and very competitive seasons, the next World Championship can count on a clear favourite for the title, none other than the current champion Thomas Lüthi, who will defend the crown that he won so brilliantly last year.

This Friday we review who will be the main contenders and protagonists of the 2006 125cc World Championships. Alongside Lüthi and serious favourites such as Mika Kallio, Gabor Talmacsi and Mattia Pasini, there are other riders capable of causing a stir, such as 2005 Rookie Of The Year Tomoyoshi Koyama or the Valencian Héctor Faubel.

At 19 years of age, Thomas Lüthi already knows how it feels to be World Champion, although the Swiss rider didn´t start the 2005 season too well. A mechanical problem whilst fighting for the victory in Jerez forced him to retire. However, he stepped onto the podium the following race in Estoril, and in the Le Mans Grand Prix, starting from pole, he achieved his first victory with an intelligent race that he dominated from start to finish. In Italy he finished second, a result that placed him for the first time at the top of the leaderboard. Despite dislocating his shoulder in a fall at the Japanese Grand Prix, only a week later he won his third race of 2005 in Malaysia. In Australia he achieved what would be his fourth and final triumph of the year.

The key moment on the road to the title arrived in Turkey. The fall and withdrawal of his closest rival, Mika Kallio, put an almost insurmountable cushion between the two in the title race, with Lüthi only needing 2 points in Valencia to be champion mathematically.

Mika Kallio was being labelled as a big title candidate in 2005. Making the most of the great features of the KTM, the Fin was winning in the second race of the season in Estoril, and was leading the pack in the overall classification. However, in the final section of the season, when the duel with Lüthi was at a peak, things turned sharply. The setback in Qatar, in which his teammate Gabor Talmacsi snatched the victory on the line, and above all the fall in the Turkish Grand Prix, ruined his chances of being champion. Second place in the championship didn´t satisfy the young Finn, who will be back in 2006.

Gabor Talmacsi exploded onto the scene in 2005 as one of the most consistent riders of the Championship, and will again fight for the title in the coming season under the command of Honda. The Hungarian rider showed himself to be very competitive, and tasted his first GP victory in Italy, benefiting from the fall of Kallio and Faubel a few metres from the line. In Holland he achieved his second triumph, making him the surprise championship leader. However in the following 5 Grands Prix he was off the podium and in several he didn´t even place in the points due to retirement.

His victory in Qatar was a result which still left him with the theoretical possibility of a push for the crown, but he fell out with his Austrian team, who accused him of not following the team orders that benefited Kallio. Although he would finish in an excellent third position, the tense situation resulted in his departure from Harald Bartol´s team.

Mattia Pasini started in 2006 under the orders of Jorge Martinez Aspar to ride one of the official Aprilias and fight for the title. The combative Italian established himself as the main figure of the Chinese GP. His overwhelming exhibition in Catalunya transformed him into the first 125cc rider to gain two wins in 2005 and, on the way, he hinched himself up to first in the overall classification. Unfortunately a run of three Grands Prix without any points dropped him down the table, and he would finish some way away from the title fight.

Tomoyoshi Koyama became one of the top Japanese chances for the 125cc World Championship. The young rider faces the season of truth, after becoming the 2005 Rookie Of The Year. With clear experience accumulated in the category, the best of Koyama came in the final section of the championship. In his home Grand Prix he was close to a podium position, something which he would then achieve in Australia and follow with a third position in Turkey.

Héctor Faubel could become the great Spanish hope in the world of 125cc in 2006. The Valencian made a brave decision in 2005, leaving behind his progress in the 250s in order to debut in the lower class. Only his irregularity and bad luck prevented Faubel from intensifying his role as title contender. His three podium places and a strong final part of the season allows him to face his second 125cc campaign with optimism, once he has overcome the process of adapting to a more balanced and competitive cylinder capacity.

125cc, 2006

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