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American youngster Bonsey making progress

American youngster Bonsey making progress

For the first American rider in the 125cc class since Jason di Salvo in 1999, competing against more than 30 aggressive European riders in front of 130,000 passionate race fans at Jerez on Sunday must have been an electrifying experience.

For the first American rider in the 125cc class since Jason di Salvo in 1999, competing against more than 30 aggressive European riders in front of 130,000 passionate race fans at Jerez on Sunday must have been an electrifying experience.

But Californian teenager Stevie Bonsey was far from overawed by the intense atmosphere at the Gran Premio bwin.com de España as he finished the race in 13th place to earn his first ever World Championship points.

Bonsey, who is also the first US rider to enter the 125cc class for a full season since Alan Scott in the 1980s, set the example for his Red Bull KTM team-mates Randy Krummenacher, who crossed the line 17th, and Tomoyoshi Koyama, who crashed out with four laps to go - with the podium in his sights.

Like his compatriot Nicky Hayden, Bonsey excelled on the US dirtbike scene before following the path of the current World Champion into roadracing. The mature 17 year-old, who dreams of emulating Hayden's achievements one day, made a solid start to the season gaining experience as he finished in 22nd place in Qatar, before pushing on in Jerez to win those confidence building first championship points.

Reflecting on a successful culmination to the Spanish Grand Prix weekend the American commented: "To get my first points in the end is great, and to finish a race in front of this audience is an awesome feeling. In American Dirt Track racing, we don't get as many people on the grandstands as there are here in one corner!"

Explaining his progress during the 23 lap race, Bonsey revealed: "I lost my left knee slider right after the start, which was a big problem because my strongest point so far was the left hand corners. So I just tried to be consistent. I felt good on the bike, and as the race went on, I also was picking up corner speed in the right hand turns. When I saw a bunch of other riders crash and my pit board signalling 19th position, I thought of possible world championship points and pushed even harder."

Bonsey is just one of several newcomers to the 125cc World Championship in 2007 and he is likely to face stiff competition for the ‘Rookie of the Year' title with the likes of the prodigious Pol Espargaro starting the season at lightening pace.

But his progress so far has clearly met the approval of Red Bull KTM Team Race Director Harald Bartol, who commented simply after Jerez: "I am sure that we are going to have a lot of joy with this guy this year – he is getting better and better!"

Tags:
125cc, 2007, GRAN PREMIO bwin.com DE ESPAÑA, Stevie Bonsey

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