Motorsport Thoughts

Friday, September 15, 2006

125cc Season review 2005 (incomplete)


125cc MotoGP review 2005

The 2005 125cc season was the most keenly contested of the championships this year, with the title fight going all the way to the last lap at the Valencia finale. It was a fitting conclusion to an excellent season showing what the class exists for – for young talent to break through and show it’s future potential, and to simply produce some tremendously exciting racing.
In the off-season we had said farewell to a number of class veterans, who had been forced to move up by the introduction of an age-limit restriction. This writer had roundly condemned this move in the corresponding 2004 round-up, fearing a reduction in the field size and greater uncertainty however added "…all these concerns will be academic if the class lines up with 34 riders again in 2005". As it was, 36 regulars turned out for the season, including a wealth of new talent, so it was a good move after all on Dorna’s part.

With many riders moving up to 250cc, including defending champion Andrea Dovizioso and indeed most of the leading riders from 2004, virtually every team changed its lineup completely from the previous season. Those to remain with the same squad were Mika Kallio with KTM, Marco Simoncelli with the Aprilia team (changing sponsor from Exalt Cycle), Thomas Luthi with Elit Honda and Sergio Gadea on the Master Aspar Aprilia. Everyone else had something of a clean slate going into the new year. With Roberto Locatelli forced to move up, the only champion in the field was 2001 title-winner Manuel Poggiali who was forced back to the class to ride a Gilera after a disastrous 250 title defence attempt in 2004.

The opener at Jerez gave an early indication of who to watch during the year, as all the major protagonists got used to their new machinery and new opposition. The two outstandings riders on the day were Luthi and Simoncelli; however the Swiss suffered a breakdown (his only non-score of the year in fact) and Simoncelli cruised to his second win at the track and his second overall. Mika Kallio was second ahead of Fabrizio Lai on the Kopron Honda, continuing his good form from last year, and 2004 Rookie of the Year Mattia Pasini who looked like a major threat on the NGS Totti Top Sport Aprilia which was backed by the Roma football superstar.

Estoril hastily took on round two after the proposed race at Rio was scrapped following political bickering. Mika Kallio took his KTM to victory ahead of Hector Faubel’s Aprilia, who had stepped down from the 250 class to ride for Jorge Martinez Aspar’s team. Behind them were Luthi, Lai, Poggiali and Tomoyoshi Koyama’s Ajo Motorsports Honda. In the case of Poggiali it turned out to be the best result of the season – he was consistent and outperformed his team-mates Pablo Nieto, Lukas Pesek and debutant Nico Terol, but the Derbi/Gilera always seemed a little off the pace of the front bikes which was disappointing considering the excellent rider lineup.

Shanghai in China hosted a new round on its spectacular Formula 1 track for the next event. While very impressively constructed and with excellent facilities, the track didn’t provide great action until the rain came along. The race turned into a spectacular duel between Fabrizio Lai – going for his first win – and Mattia Pasini who was going for his first ever podium. It looked for all the world as though Lai would get it, but ran ride at the very last corner and Pasini snatched the victory. Gabor Talmacsi took his first podium in third for KTM, ahead of Luthi and the again very impressive rookie Koyama. Fellow new-boy Aleix Espagaro took what turned out to be a season’s best 7th, just ahead of Derbi returnee Pablo Nieto who was having a terrible time of things. Meanwhile, lower down the order, Mika Kallio slumped home in 11th, just ahead of Poggiali, Michele Pirro who took Malaguti’s only points on the season, Joan Olive and Hector Faubel, who really struggled in the wet.




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