25 May 2003
Pedrosa destroys 125 opposition at Le Mans.
The lead pack then began to divide, as Pedrosa stretched his legs to build an ever increasingly advantage over Dovizioso, Cecchinello and Ui. Meanwhile Perugini, Stoner and de Angelis were a further second behind.
Approaching the halfway stage and Pedrosa was clearly intent on breaking the opposition as soon as possible, no last lap tactics here, as he held a 5.6secs lead by lap 13. But behind the battle for second was as close as ever with Dovizioso, Cecchinello, de Angelis, and Ui now nose-to-tail.
Stoner and Perugini had now been caught and overtaken by Nieto, with championship leader Jenkner up to ninth and giving his all to close the 4secs gap to eighth.
Into the closing stages and Pedrosa's plan had clearly worked, the Telefonica Honda rider holding a steady 6secs advantage with two laps to go, while second place was now a three-way fight between Cecchinello, Dovizioso, and de Angelis – Ui having faded to a safe fifth, while Stoner, Nieto and Perugini scrapped over sixth.
Jenkner was still ninth, but had next to no chance of closing the 9secs gap to Perugini, and with Pedrosa cruising up front, the German's points lead wasn't to last long.
Onto the last lap and Pedrosa had backed off to hold a still certain 4.5secs advantage, while behind him Cecchinello began the lap ahead of Dovizioso and de Angelis in the fight for second.
Even a rabbit running across in front of Cecchinello couldn't distract him and the wily veteran held on for second from Dovizioso, while the unfortunate de Angelis high sided spectacularly out of fourth at the penultimate corner.
Stoner finished the race on a high by beating Nieto and Ui (who seemed to suffer late race bike problems) for fourth, with Perugini a distant seventh ahead of Jenkner.
Pedrosa now holds a 5-point championship lead over Cecchinello, with Jenkner demoted to third.
Full results to follow...
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