Ui walks away with 125 win
23 April 2001
Derbi's Youichi Ui took a lights to flag victory today in the 125cc race from Welkom, South Africa, with Manuel Poggiali taking his best ever finish in second behind the Japanese rider.
Pole sitter Ui made a good enough get-away to lead the field around the first corner with Elias slotting into second, from a sixth place start, ahead of Ueda.
The first two then began to break away from the chasing pack, with Manuel Poggiali now up to third and in pursuit of the lead pair, now 1.157secs ahead, while second place starter Ueda had slipped back to sixth.
At the fourth of the 24 laps it was announced that Lucio Cecchinello, who had started on the outside of the front row, had made a jump start (along with Jarno Muller) and so would have to serve a penalty.
Meanwhile at the front of the field, Manuel Poggiali was putting Antonio Elias under pressure for second, the Telefonica MoviStar rider hanging on despite all the Gilera riders best efforts to pass – while Ui began to increase his lead.
By lap 6 Poggiali had passed Elias and set off in pursuit Ui, while Cecchinello came into the pits to serve his stop-go penalty.
Two laps later and Nieto Jr. had now moved into third ahead of Elias while Poggiali was struggling to catch leader Ui – who was still the fastest rider on the track at that point.
TSR's Nobby Ueda, who had slipped further down the lead pack after running wide, now began to fight back, gaining two places in one move with a brave dive down the inside.
Lap 10 saw Caffiero crash out after being hit by Elias, who had charged into the side of his bike in a desperate lunge to pass the #20 Aprilia.
The order by lap 11 was: Ui from Poggiali, Nieto Jr., Sabbatani, and Ueda.
But not for long, Ueda passed Sabbatani, who was nevertheless having a great race from a sixteenth placed start, for fourth. However Ueda was unable to break away and the four-way fourth place battle continued with Sabbatani, Borsoi, Ueda and Vincent swapping places continuously – while Ui had built up a 4.5secs lead at the front over Poggiali's Gilera, with Nieto Jr. now 2secs ahead of the battle for fourth.
Positions at the front remained largely unchanged, but with 6 laps to go Poggiali began closing the gap to Ui (although it was still over 4secs), while Borsoi, now leading the battle for fourth, also began catch Nieto Jr.
One lap late and Borsoi was climbing all over Nieto Jr.'s Telefonica MoviStar Honda, the Spaniard defended for as long as he could before Borsoi moved into the final podium position when Nieto Jr. ran wide.
Into the closing laps and the only real battle at the front was now for third with Nobby Ueda pushing Borsoi with 3 laps remaining. One lap later and Borsoi still held the position - despite Ueda's best efforts, to what was easily the best battle of the race.
The last lap saw Ui still leading by over 2secs from Poggiali with Ueda finally passing Borsoi for third early in the lap, and holding on by just over 0.1secs to the final podium position.
Suzuka winner Masao Azuma had a disappointing race and finished tenth, after starting in ninth.
Full classification to follow…
1. Ui – 41mins 27.323secs
2. Poggiali +1.288secs
3. Ueda +7.149secs
4. Borsoi +7.365secs
5. Nieto Jr. +7.731secs
6. Vincent +7.989secs
7. Sabbatani +8.114secs
8. Jenkner +15.140secs
9. de Angelis +24.741secs
10. Azuma +30.750secs
11. Perugini +30.833secs
12. Giansanti +31.005secs
13. Pedrosa +31.150secs
14. Scalvini +31.818secs
15. Nieto +32.198secs