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GP Week : Issue 13
A RACE of many crashes handed a first class victory to Italian Metis Gilera rider Marco Simoncelli, after a dogged ride on a bike lacking top speed compared with his front- running rivals. Riding the wheels off it, he had just stayed with early leader Alvaro Bautista (Mapfre Aspar Aprilia), but the Spaniard had started to break away when he crashed again on the seventh lap. At this stage, pole man (by a nmargin) Hector Barbera (Team Toth Aprilia) was a second or so adrift, but he closed over the next three laps and attacked at the end of the tenth, whizzing by at the end of the straight so fast it looked as though he had an extra cylinder. Simoncelli strove to stay with him, regaining in the bends what he lost on the straight, and he led over the line for more laps than his rival. Even so, the eventual outcome seemed certain: Barbera would power past on the finishing straight. It didn’t happen. Instead, onto the straight on the penultimate lap, Simoncelli led, and swerved to the left. “I was trying to not give him the slipstream,” he said. Barbera was closer than he thought, and couldn’t avoid a collision. His front brake lever hit Simoncelli’s seat, the wheel locked, and he ground-looped over the handlebars and out of the race, lucky to escape injury. Simoncelli almost lost the race by celebrating too early: second- placed Alex Debon (Lotus Aprilia) closed a gap of 2.5 seconds to less than half a second over the line. Thomas Luthi (Emmi-Caffe Latte Aprilia) was a close third; KTM rider Mika Kallio retained the points lead with a canny fourth. 250: Simoncelli survives crash-fest Simone Corsi (Jack & Jones Aprilia) took the narrowest of victories in a desperate 125 race, managing to defend his lead out of the last corner by less than two hundredths of a second, ahead of a slipstreaming pack, regaining the title lead in the process. Defending champion Gabor Talmacsi (Bancaja Aspar Aprilia) drafted through to snitch second from Spanish youngster Pol Espargaro (Belson Derbi); while Mike di Meglio (Ajo Derbi) and Bradley Smith (Polaris World Aprilia) flashed across the line almost alongside him. The first five were covered by less than two tenths, with sixth- placed Sergio Gadea (Bancaja Aspar Aprilia) less than three tenths behind, and the Jack & Jones Aprilia of Nicolas Terol a similar distance adrift. The flowing circuit encourages drafting and close racing … at one-third distance a pack of 12 was still glued together, changing places several times a lap (sometimes several times a corner), and running into the daunting Turn One braking zone four or five abreast. “To come out of the last corner leading and then still win the race is amazing,” said Corsi, who thanked Aprilia for the horsepower that meant he could narrowly escape slingshot moves by all his close companions. Di Meglio did most of the leading, Terol taking over for a few laps, and then Smith for laps 18 and 19. But the Briton was swamped into the first corner for the last lap, losing four places in as many yards. Stefan Bradl (Grizzly Gas Aprilia) also had a run up front early on, but dropped to tenth by the end. 125: Corsi by the barest of margins Simone Corsi defends his lead by the narrowest of margins 36