30 June 2001
First win for Elias at wet Assen.
Toni Elias took a thrilling first ever grand prix victory in the 125cc race at Assen today, the 18 year old rookie surviving the treacherous conditions to lead home Arnauld Vincent by just 0.6secs.
After two days of dry running at Assen rain, arrived for race day and the 125cc stars took to the grid with more than a little apprehension at tackling the daunting Dutch track in the wet.
As the red lights went out and the field charged into the first fast right-hander, it was Toni Elias who stole the lead from pole sitter Gino Borsoi, while main loser was Lucio Cecchinello who 'sunk' to eighth.
After an incident-filled first two laps, in which Scalvini, de Angelis and Pablo Nieto -among others - crashed out, it was Borsoi who was now back in front.
Meanwhile, Championship leader Manuel Poggiali – who had worked his way up to second - lost the front of his Gilera and slid off the circuit. The San Marian soon jumped up and rejoined, but now Arnauld Vincent now in second, followed by a fast starting Steve Jenkner.
Lap 4 and Masao Azuma ran wide across the grass – tried desperately to stay in control – but fell off his Honda just metres from rejoining the track, prematurely ending the Suzuka winner's day.
So, by lap five of seventeen the order at the front was: Borsoi, from Vincent, Jenkner, Elias, Ui, Cecchinello, Muller and Smrz.
Lap six and Cecchinello suffered apparent mechanical failure on his Aprilia, as the Italian, winner of the Catalan Grand Prix, was left cruising back to the pits, putting a serious dent in his title hopes after a promising start to the weekend.
Just one lap later and leader Borsoi lost the front of his Aprilia at the back of the circuit, sending the pole sitter sliding off the track - but the game Italian, in his 69th GP start, was helped back onto the track by the Marshall's and crossed the line in eleventh place, while Vincent now led from Elias, by just over 2secs.
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