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Spanish fans enjoying happy days

Spanish fans enjoying happy days

Following his sensational victory on home soil in Jerez at round two Dani Pedrosa became the first Spanish rider to top the World Championship standings since Sete Gibernau in 2004.

Following his sensational victory on home soil in Jerez at round two Dani Pedrosa became the first Spanish rider to top the World Championship standings since Sete Gibernau in 2004.

That year saw Gibernau lead the way for three GPs in the early stages of the campaign, before concluding proceedings as runner-up for the second consecutive season – and Spanish fans will hope Pedrosa can go one better himself this year having finished 2007 second in the general standings.

With Pedrosa´s compatriot Jorge Lorenzo joining in the podium fun after two sensational pole positions at his first two premier class Grands Prix the Spanish pair form a one-two in the provisional classification – a first for their country in the history of the World Championship. Meanwhile, the last six pole positions have gone to riders from Spain, with Pedrosa taking the last four of 2007.

Pedrosa has won two of the last three MotoGP races, including the last two on home soil, while neither he nor Lorenzo have finished off the podium thus far in 2008.

In leading the World Championship, even at this early stage in the year, Pedrosa is only the third Spanish rider in history to have done so. Alex Criville, a Repsol Honda representative himself from 1994 to 2001, was the first Spaniard to achieve the honour in 1998, after winning the French GP ahead of Mick Doohan and Carlos Checa.

motogp.com spoke to Criville about that historical occurrence and what it meant to him at the time. `That was a special day for me, because I had been capable of fighting for the title for a couple of years, but that was the first time I actually got the lead in the championship,´ said the Catalan ex-riding star. `In 1998 I would have been able to win the title if I hadn´t had a frustrating crash later that year at Montmelo.´

The 1999 World Champion continued, `When a rider gets to the top of the standings it means he is getting close to achieving what he wants and in my case it only took another year for my dream to become reality.´

Rating Pedrosa´s current excellent form, Criville commented, `Dani has an opportunity ahead of him. It´s his third season in the premier class so he has already gained quite a lot of experience. He is also fortunate to have the best bike and to be in the best team in the paddock. It is still early days but he has everything going for him.´

`Dani is certainly one of the title favourites, but Valentino Rossi and the current World Champion Casey Stoner are up there too. Despite his good results so far and his strong preseason performances it´s difficult to see Lorenzo in that group, but no-one can write him off.´

Tags:
MotoGP, 2008, bwin.com GRANDE PREMIO DE PORTUGAL, Jorge Lorenzo, Dani Pedrosa

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