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Dovizioso takes 125cc Motegi victory
19 September 2004
Championship leader Andrea Dovizioso took victory in a red-flag interupted 125cc race at the Japanese Grand Prix.
Hector Barbera had taken an early lead from the start, only to be taken by Casey Stoner. Stoner was looking solid and making a lead for himself only to suffer a gear lever break. The young Australian was, understandably, upset.
Dovizioso found himself in the lead but the race was soon to be stopped. The red flag came out after two bikes came together at the last turn. Andrea Ballerini highsided and his bike was left at the exit of the last turn and his bike ended up on the start/finish straight.
Imre Toth came across Ballerina's stricken bike unsighted and flew into the air, for some considerable distance. He was shaken, though appeared to be unhurt.
The two broken bikes on the straight, and the amount of damage from them, meant the riders positions on track when the red flags came out the positions would count for the restart.
It was to be a new race, not aggregate, and Roberto Locatelli took the initiative on the second start and moved into the lead, quite comfortably for a number of laps, whilst Dovizioso looked on behind.
The duo made gap to those behind of over three seconds, and the following pack was headed by Fabrizio Lai's Gilera(!).
After many laps of following Locatelli, Doviziso was gifted the lead suddenly by the older Italian rider, but the duo were then duelling wheel to wheel, with Locatelli taking the lead right back.
The dicing between the two was to prove to go in the favour of the younger rider. Once he was past with a handful of laps to go he made off. Locatelli pushed hard to keep Dovizioso in sight but he pushed just too hard and was off on the final lap, losing the front end.
As Locatelli tried, successfully, to get his bike back in the race, the fight for what was now second was very much alive and well. Lai took the front at the final corner, and his Gilera used the full width of the start/finish straight to ensure Simone Corsi's Honda came third.
Lai's second place represents Gilera's best-ever result in the 125 class, and is some ten places better than his season-best until now of twelfth place last time out.
Hector Barbera's race ended in the pits on a day of double retirement for the Speedorf Racing squad, Alvaro Bautista not finishing the first lap of the restarted race. Locatelli took an eventual fourteenth place.
1. Andrea Dovizioso
2. Fabrizio Lai
3. Simone Corsi
4. Mirko Giansanti
5. Steven Jenkner
6. Marco Simoncelli
7. Jorge Lorenzo
8. Gabor Talmacsi
9. Tomoyoshi Koyama
10. Toshihisa Kuzuhara
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