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Simoncelli hoping to cash in on home advantage

Simoncelli hoping to cash in on home advantage

World Champion Marco Simoncelli has won two successive races heading into his home event and he will look to increase the pressure on Hiroshi Aoyama and Álvaro Bautista this weekend.

The 250cc battle at this weekend’s Gran Premio Cinzano di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini will be another crucial episode in the title race, with current standings leader Hiroshi Aoyama and second placed Álvaro Bautista coming under increasing pressure from World Champion Marco Simoncelli, who will be on home territory at Misano.

The ultra-consistent Aoyama has a 16 point advantage over Bautista in the general classification with five rounds remaining, having scored good points at every GP this season – missing the top five on just two occasions. The Japanese rider got his sixth podium of 2009 on Sunday at Indianapolis, in second place, and has also featured on the rostrum at Misano previously, when he was the runner-up in the 2007 250cc race.

Had Bautista not crashed out in Assen earlier this year he would be in charge of the championship fight at present, but he conceded further ground at Indianapolis in third place. The Spaniard has now gone five races without a victory and he would love to halt that trend this weekend by repeating his 2008 Misano win, which he achieved from 11th place on the grid.

The man of the moment following his Brno and Indy triumphs, 250cc title holder Simoncelli will be the man to beat on the Rimini coast. The long-haired Italian now trails Aoyama by 27 points and will be extremely keen to improve his record at Misano - which is less than 5km from his home town of Cattolica – having never been on the podium there.

In fourth place in the standings, Héctor Barberá’s two consecutive third places at the San Marino event in ’07 & ’08 mean he will be confident of improving his current form this weekend, having been outside of the top five at the last three rounds.

In addition to Simoncelli, there are three additional Italian riders in the current top eight, fifth placed Mattia Pasini (the 2007 125cc Misano race winner), sixth placed Raffaele de Rosa and eighth placed Roberto Locatelli, which should make this Sunday’s 250cc race an extra spicy affair.


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