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Assen beckons for 250cc competitors

Assen beckons for 250cc competitors

Championship leader Álvaro Bautista and the riders pursuing him in the 250cc class will do battle this week in The Netherlands.

The World Championship’s visit to northern Holland sees the riders in the 250cc category lining up for their seventh race of the 2009 season, before a short break whilst the MotoGP field heads onto Laguna Seca and then a return to action in the double header at Sachsenring and Donington Park later next month.

After the Alice TT Assen the championship picture will be more developed, though Spanish rider Álvaro Bautista has already emerged as a strong title challenger, with four podiums and two victories to his name thus far in 2009.

The Mapfre Aspar rider - who also won last year at Assen - was a highly popular winner in front of nearly 90,000 passionate fans in Barcelona, the crowd celebrating wildly as he crossed the line more than seven seconds ahead of nearest rival Hiroshi Aoyama.

At the head of the general standings Bautista has a 12 point advantage over Aoyama, with the Japanese Scot Honda rider having one win and two further podiums under his belt this year. Aoyama has never achieved a rostrum finish on Dutch ground and he was sixth in last year’s race.

Another Spaniard, Héctor Barberá, came home in third place behind Bautista and Aoyama in Catalunya and currently lies third in the standings, just ahead of Italian rider Mattia Pasini who was fourth in the last race and is fourth overall.

World Champion Marco Simoncelli has dropped down the rankings to fifth place having crashed and retired in Barcelona and he now trails Bautista by 47 points, meaning he must improve his form significantly if he wishes to retain the title.

Behind Simoncelli in the top ten are the likes of Thomas Luthi, Raffaele de Rosa, Héctor Faubel, Roberto Locatelli and Jules Cluzel, all of whom will aim to get straight on the pace when 250cc free practice commences at Assen on Thursday (25th June) at 3.10pm.

250cc, 2009, ALICE TT ASSEN

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