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GP Week : Issue 6
M oto GP PORTUGAL >> 250: Bautista runs and hides ALVARO Bautista trashed any notion of close 250 racing with a runaway win – his third at Estoril in three years. He took the lead on lap 1 and, while Marco Simoncelli (Metis Gilera) chased the Mapfre Aspar Aprilia valiantly for the first few laps, the Spaniard was soon stretching the gap inexorably, setting a new record on the eighth of the 26 laps. A fierce battle for third held the attention, with Mike Kallio, Hiro Aoyama (both Red Bull KTM), Mattia Pasini (Polaris World Aprilia) and Yuki Takahashi (JIR/Scot Honda) locked elbow to elbow. Kallio was able to escape while the others slowed one another, and ex-125 champ Thomas Luthi (Emmi Caffe Latte Aprilia) and Julian Simon (Repsol KTM) took advantage to close from behind. They clearly wouldn’t all reach the end. It was perennially luckless Pasini who paid the price of an over-ambitious overtaking move by Aoyama. The KTM rider saved his own accident by bouncing off the Aprilia, sending him flying. Pasini remounted, only to arrive at the next braking point, the end of the back straight, at close to top speed – to discover he no longer had a front brake, crashing for a second time, luckily unhurt. It wasn’t over yet. Luthi worked his way through for a clear fourth, ahead of Aoyama and Takahashi, with Simon off the back. Up front, Kallio kept going faster, closing on Simoncelli, whose rear tyre was sliding. He pounced on the last run to the line, but Simoncelli moved across on him, and hung on to second by 0.001s. It was the lion-haired Italian’s first GP rostrum; an angry Kallio’s consolation was to take the lead on points. SHIFTED to last in the day, the 125 race got the best conditions, with the threat of rain over, and was another promising run for the youngsters. But victory, for a second race in a row, went to the experienced Italian Simone Corsi (23) on the Jack and Jones Aprilia, after he and fellow veteran Joan Olive (Belson Derbi) finally managed to escape from Corsi’s young Spanish team-mate Nico Terol. Bright British hope Bradley Smith had been in the leading quartet, but admitted later he’d been pushing too hard. He fell unhurt just after half distance “at the corner where I was having the most trouble”. As with the 250s, the fight for fourth was most absorbing. Defending champion Gabor Talmacsi (Bancaja Aspar Aprilia) held the spot, but found set-up problems had left the front end too light. The vague steering got vaguer as fuel burned off. He dropped back into the clutches of a lively teenage gang. The Aprilia youth brigade included Degraaf Aprilia team-mates, American Steve Bonsey and front-row-starting Briton Danny Webb, both bright prospects; and young German Stefan Bradl, with the more seasoned Sergio Gadea at the back. In their midst, old hand Mike di Meglio (Derbi) took a strong role. With five laps left they had caught Talmacsi, and both Bonsey and Webb got ahead of him, each for a career-best finish. Talmacsi managed to fend off di Meglio; Bradl and Gadea were a little behind by the end. 125: Corsi makes it two in a row 23