Lucio Cecchinello won his first Grand Prix of the season today at Jerez after an exciting race which saw the Italian battle with several riders throughout the course of the 23 laps.

Pablo Nieto started the race from pole position for the first time in his 125cc career, however he did not take full advantage of the opportunity, and slipped down the positions as soon as the lights turned green.

Frenchman Vincent had a problem on grid before warm up lap, causing him to retreat to the pit lane. As the bikes formed up before the start, Vincent crawled back to his second position on the grid.

Poggiali lead into the first corner after Nieto and Vincent made poor starts. Pedrosa got up to second position and Sanna managed seventh.

By the start of lap four the first five riders (Poggiali, Jenkner, Vincent, Pedrosa, de Angelis) had pulled away from the rest of the field. Further down a battle commenced with Ui, Olive and Bianco.

Pole sitter Nieto lost it on lap eight and was out of the race, forcing Spain's hopes of success to lie with Pedrosa.

Jenkner, having led for five laps let Cecchinello slip past into the lead, then lost concentration and allowed Poggiali to pass him. He regained his rhythm quickly and retook second position.

Mean while, de Angelis was preparing for a serge and managed to claw his way past Poggiali and Jenkner into second place to put both Safilo Oxydo Race Aprilia bikes in the top two.

Wild card Julio Simon, riding for the Telefonica MoviStar Jnr Team, was in the gravel on lap 14, taking him out of the race.

Bianco had a fall with three laps remaining but managed to climb back onto the bike and return to the race. Luck was not so kind to second placed de Angelis who, after fighting lap after lap, corner after corner with Poggiali, was knocked by his countryman and forced off the track, into the gravel, still gripping the handlebars.

As Poggiali upped the pace and pushed to compete with Cecchinello, the heat was on. Both riders worked hard to claim the win, but victory literally slipped away from Poggiali as on the final corner he lost control and slid into the run-off gravel. His speed in recovery allowed him to return to the bike and cross the line in tenth position, giving little compensation, but providing five valuable points for the Championship.

Cecchinello consequently crossed the line a safe distance ahead of Vincent and was not shy to show his joy of winning. Steve Jenkner claimed the final podium position, indicating he is one to be watched as the season continues.

Spanish rider Pedrosa took fourth to give the crowds something the cheer about.

Top ten finishers:

1. Lucio Cecchinello
2. Arnaud Vincent
3. Steve Jenkner
4. Daniel Pedrosa
5. Mika Kallio
6. Youichi Ui
7. Simone Sanna
8. Masao Azuma
9. Joan Olive
10. Manuel Poggiali

Full results to follow.


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