25 May 2003
Pedrosa destroys 125 opposition at Le Mans.
Dani Pedrosa broke any opposition with a stunning early pace at Le Mans today, quickly build a 6secs lead before backing off for an unusually 'safe' victory, while behind him the four-way fight for second would end with one rider high siding out of contention at the penultimate turn.
Andrea Dovizioso would start today's race from pole for the first time in his fledging career, being joined on the front row by Youichi Ui, Jorge Lorenzo and Casey Stoner.
Lorenzo had proven the most consistent rider in the class over the past two days, lapping third quickest in the dry and fourth in the wet. Stoner was also impressive in the wet, although his afternoon qualifier was spoilt by two crashes as track conditions deteriorated.
But it was left to Finn Mika Kallio to set the pace in the wet final session, just ahead of team-mate Masao Azuma, although they would both start from the fourth row of the grid.
As well as the Ajo Motorsports duo, Alvaro Bautista was looking like one to watch from the sixth row after setting the fastest lap in the wet yesterday morning and running in the afternoon.
Today saw the rain clouds disappear and instead the grid assembled under overcast, but dry, skies in preparation for the 24 lap event. And when the red lights went out it was Dovizioso who made the most of his first pole to lead Ui, Pedrosa, de Angelis, Stoner and Cecchinello into the first chicane.
Further back, the local fans were to lose their favourite, Arnaud Vincent, when the reigning World Champion tangled with Lorenzo around a long right hander, leaving them both in the gravel.
But making his presence immediately felt was Pedrosa, who'd been so disappointed to lose out on even a podium in front of his home fans two weeks ago at Jerez. The Spaniard soon worked his way past Ui and Dovizioso to grab the early advantage.
The top seven (Pedrosa, Ui, Dovizioso, Stoner, Cecchinello, Perugini and de Angelis) were soon dropping the rest of the field, holding a 3secs lead over eighth placed Azuma by the end of the second circulation.
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