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250cc class set for oriental outing

250cc class set for oriental outing

Quarter-litre category stars to compete in second round of 2009 season this weekend.

The 250cc class follows up a curtailed Qatar race with a second two-stroke showdown at Twin Ring Motegi, with Héctor Barberá the early leader in the quarter-litre class standings. Following five months out through injury, the Spaniard claimed only the second win of his 250cc career, ending a drought stretching back to the 2006 Chinese Grand Prix. It is the first time that Barberá has led the overall classification in the category.

An unlikely second place in the table comes in the shape of Jules Cluzel, who took his maiden podium finish at the Qatari round. The Frenchman who failed to earn a single point in 2008 now has 20 to his name after just a single round, and has vowed to cut out the crashing as he looks to build on his early success.

Fellow French star Mike di Meglio completed the Losail podium on his 250cc debut, whilst the race was notable for two absentees from the rostrum. Metis Gilera’s reigning World Champion Marco Simoncelli sat out the opening round due to a wrist injury, whilst Mapfre Aspar’s 2008 runner-up Álvaro Bautista placed outside the top three for the first time since last year’s Italian Grand Prix. Both will be expecting better fortune when they line up in Motegi, where they battled for the win last time around.

Twice a winner of his home Grand Prix, Hiroshi Aoyama is back representing Honda in the 250cc class, and currently lies fourth in the standings. The Scot Racing rider’s brother and 2007 poleman Shuhei makes his return as a wildcard entrant for the race.


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