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Poggiali brings Gilera first 125 win for 45 years

Poggiali brings Gilera first 125 win for 45 years

Manuel Poggiali´s thrilling 125 victory on Sunday was Gilera´s first in the class for 45 years. The East German Grand Prix on the 21st July 1956 at the Solitude circuit was their last conquest, at the hands of Italian rider Romolo Ferri, who held off the challenge of Carlo Ubbiali on the MV Agusta and Tarquinio Provini on the Mondial. It was Gilera´s first and only victory in the class up until this weekend, given that they never went on to compete with any success in 125cc.

That season there were six 125cc Grand Prix, and Gilera scored points for a second time when Frenchman Pierre Moneret took the Italian factory to third place at the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa. The third and final podium for Gilera was taken by Ferri at the Grand Prix of Ulster in Belfast when he finished in second place.

Ferri finished runner-up in the Championship that year as the title went to Carlo Ubbiali. In the Manufacturers´ Championship, Gilera came second behind MV Agusta as 8 participants battled for honours. Gilera decided not to race in the category any longer and concentrated their efforts on bigger engines where they had achieved previous success.

The factory´s golden era in the 500cc series came during the 1950´s. They had already achieved one victory in 1945 and went on to another 34 wins. Their last success came in 1963, when Hartle and Read came first and second in the second race of the season at Assen on the 29th June, finishing third and fourth in the overall standings that year. Gilera won the Manufacturers´ Championship a total of four times in the half litre class, finishing as runners-up a further five times. In the now defunct 350cc category, Gilera won the title in 1957.

The step into the 250cc series was up to now their most recent and least successful move. It was during the 92 and 93 season, when they ended up amongst the worst factories in the field, collecting just 10 and 9 points in each season. Frenchman Jean Philippe Ruggia and former World Champion Carlos Lavado were charged with piloting the quarter litre bikes in 92 and their substitutes the following year were the Italians Paolo Casoli and Alesandro Gramigni.

125cc, 2001, Grand Prix Polini de France, RAC

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