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GP Week : Issue 2
15 M oto GP news >> HAS rising Italian stallion Mattia Pasini’s jinx gone on holiday? The full-on 22-year-old from Rimini must be holding thumbs that it has. Pasini, riding for the same Polaris World sponsor that backed his 125cc efforts, took a convincing debut win in the Qatar GP, his factory-backed Aprilia not skipping a beat for the full 118.36 km. It was the perfect showcase for the aggressive riding talent that took him to nine pole positions in the 125 class last year. But Pasini became better known for breakdowns than race wins. He did clock up four, but was only once actually beaten into second. In every other race he either fell back with some problem, or (on no less than six occasions) actually broke down. Failures ranged from disc valve breakages with the skew-driven system in the factory machines to the chain jumping off the sprockets, and they often occurred in the early laps, when he was already charging away up front. Most famous was his physical attack on his bike at Catalunya. It had seized on lap one and pitched him off at the first corner. Frustrated beyond measure, he responded by giving it a thorough kicking. Pasini said all the right things after last wek’s win, thanking Aprilia and the team for “a perfect weekend”. Given his record last year, he obviously meant it. Significantly, he added: “I feel more comfortable on the 250 than the 125. The bike allows me to ride as I want – it’s bigger, which is better for me.” Pasini’s racing style is extremely forceful, but he was able to use some tactics at Qatar, waiting until the right time to impose his authority on a close brawl. The omens, if he trusts them, are good. The two most recent debut 250 winners, Manuel Poggiali and Dani Pedrosa, both went on to win the title. Pasini jinx gone?