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Three in a row for Ui, as Elias' hopes evaporate.

Youichi Ui won his third Grand Prix in as many races at Sepang today, cruising across the line 5secs ahead of Championship leader Manuel Poggiali and Lucio Cecchinello.

Poggiali's hard earned second place, coupled with main rival Toni Elias finishing just seventh, means that Poggi will take a 23 point lead into the season finale at Rio over Ui – with Elias now out of the running for the championship.

Elias' title hopes had been boosted when the Spaniard took pole for today's race (having been a lowly 17th on the grid in Phillip Island one week ago), while championship leader Poggiali would start on the outside of row two for the crucial encounter.

However, both had been overshadowed by Youichi Ui in recent races, and with the Japanese rider sitting in second on the grid there was every chance of him completing a hat trick a victories in as many starts as he tries to keep his slim championship hopes alive.

As red lights went out and the field charged towards the tight first corner it was Elias who rocketed away from pole to lead from teammate Pedrosa and Ui, while Poggiali hadn't got the start he'd hoped for and instead slipped to thirteenth.

An early retirement was Pablo Nieto, who lost the front of his #22 Derbi – while seconds later his teammate Ui who take the lead along the back straight, as the 125cc stars started lap 2 of 19.

By the start of lap 3 Poggiali had fought back to eighth, 4secs behind leader Ui, and with Angel Nieto Jr now in his sights, while at the front the Telefonica teammates (Pedrosa and Elias) were coming under pressure from Gino Borsoi, who slipstreamed ahead on the run past the huge grandstand towards the hairpin.

Poggiali continued to close the gap in time to the leaders, while the top five broke away, leaving Nieto Jr and Masao Azuma between him and the slipstreaming battle for the lead ahead.

Borsoi and Ui traded the lead through the next couple of laps; leaving Elias poised patently in third (and protected by Pedrosa) while Lucio Cecchinello hung on to the tail of the pack in fifth.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Youichi Ui celebrates his second win in as many races in Australia.
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