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Vincent takes 125 victory as Poggiali cracks.

Cecchinello would lose the lead to Vincent 1 lap later when the Imola Aprilia star smoothly cut inside the #4 machine, utilizing the wide Sepang asphalt to his advantage.

Onto the penultimate lap and Vincent was holding a 0.3secs lead over Cecchinello with Pedrosa and Poggiali covered by a further 0.4secs, with Nieto and Jenkner having dropped back from the fight at the front. Reigning world champion Poggiali was now in big trouble as far as both the race and championship were concerned and desperately needed to get at least second – but even that would increase Vincent's points lead to 13 points.

Onto the last lap and Cecchinello was now crawling all over the magnificently cool Frenchman – but he himself was under pressure from Pedrosa – with Poggiali now almost visibly desperate to challenge the top three.

But it was Pedrosa who was on the move and took second from Cecchinello midway around the final lap on the brakes – but despite being put off his line Cecchinello was able to hold Poggiali off, despite the teenager trying every way he could to capitalise his momentum.

Into the final hairpin and Vincent had the race in the bag, with Pedrosa a 'safe' second – but behind them the fight for third was well and truly on and would end in disaster for one of them…

As Cecchinello and Poggiali hit the brakes as late as they dared there was little between them, but as they turned in Poggiali pushed his front wheel a little too hard and to his Gilera team's horror it tucked under and spat him off the 'low side'. Poggiali dashed back to his bike and would remount to finish ninth but the championship could well be heading the Frenchman's way, and on toady's performance he certainly deserves it – but there's still two races and 50 points up for grabs for Poggiali to respond.

A jubilant Vincent – in stark contrast to the distraught figure seen one week ago after Motegi – couldn't conceal his delight at taking a 26-point lead, but admitted it had been a tough race.

“The heat was a big problem and made me make mistakes. It was a big fight for the win but although I hold a big lead in the championship I'm not going to change the way I ride now and will keep fighting for victories,” promised Vincent afterwards.

Full results to follow…

1. Vincent
2. Pedrosa
3. Cecchinello
4. Nieto
5. Jenkner
6. Kallio
7. Barbera
8. Azuma

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
The two championship leaders, Manuel Poggiali and Arnaud Vincent, break away in Rio.
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