Lucio Cecchinello won a thrilling 125cc Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez today, holding off Steve Jenkner and Alex de Angelis
for two Jerez wins in two years.
Final qualifying had seen Pablo Nieto barely brake a sweat as he stood firm at the top of the time sheets to take his second ever pole position. Several riders were unable to improve on their provisional times as track temperatures soared, leaving Nieto to repeat his pole from last year with his Friday's time.
Fellow Spaniard, and world championship leader, Dani Pedrosa
crashed his number one machine with ten minutes remaining and had to settle for fourth on the grid – but will be looking to claim Hondas 150th 125cc win this afternoon.
Meanwhile, last year's winner Lucio Cecchinello was the only man to really threaten Nieto yesterday, moving up to second place but remaining 0.348 seconds adrift. De Angelis maintained his 100% front row record in 2003, with third.
When the red lights went out today it was Dovizioso who grabbed the advantage into turn one, leading Pedrosa, Barbera, de Angelis, pole sitter Nieto, Cecchinello, Giansanti and Stoner.
Pedrosa wasted no time in getting around the Italian, to lead by the end of lap one at his home race, meanwhile the masses of fans had more than one reason to cheer as Nieto carved his way through the field to make it a Spanish one-two, by lap 2.
Soon the top five – Pedrosa, Nieto, Cecchinello, de Angelis and Perugini – were dropping the rest of the pack, with Nieto overtaking the Telefonica rider for the lead on lap 8 of 23.
Nieto continued to comfortably control the race until lap 14, whereupon he swiftly sat up just after turn one as his Aprilia lost power, the thousands of fans sighing collectively as Pablo cruised into retirement.
Cecchinello then inherited the top spot, but young German Steve Jenkner was also impressing and fast catching the bar-banging lead group. This he managed to do on lap 18, and wasted no time in working his way towards the front, while by contrast crowd favourite Pedrosa was embroiled in a sometimes physical fight with Suzuka winner Perugini.