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GP Week : Issue 14
FRENCH Ajo Derbi rider Mike di Meglio took his second 125 win and extended his points lead by a small but definite margin as he led the remnants of a much-reduced leading pack over the line by a quarter of a second. Belson Derbi rider Pol Espargaro was second, with defending champion Gabor Talmacsi inches behind in third. Di Meglio had started at the back of what had been a seven- strong group in the early laps, but picked his way through quickly to lead for the first time on lap five, taking over from Sergio Gadea. The Spaniard would lead over the line once more, but come off worst in a skirmish with Nicolas Terol (Jack & Jones Aprilia) and ran off, rejoining in 19th for a dogged ride back to ninth. Di Meglio did most of the leading, but by half distance Terol, Joan Olive (Belson Derbi), Simone Corsi (Jack & Jones Aprilia) and Espargaro were still right with him. Olive was the first to go, with three laps left; next time round Terol challenged again for the lead only to high-side dramatically out. Corsi’s was sliding badly, and dropped back rapidly in the last laps. It left three for the final chess game onto the straight for the last time. “You never know here if you’ve won until the very end,” smiled di Meglio, who stretched his points lead over Corsi to 14 – the Italian’s problems had seen him lose fourth to Grizzly Gas Aprilia rider Stefan Bradl, and he was under severe threat from top British rookie Scott Redding (Blusens Aprilia). 125: Di Meglio doubles up for Derbi LION-maned Marco Simoncelli won his first 250 race last weekend at Mugello, after knocking Hector Barbera flying. At Catalunya he made it two – this time with riding that even shaded home hero Alvaro Bautista. Bautista (Mapfre Aspar Aprilia, right, leading) and Simoncelli (Metis Gilera) disputed the lead from the start, while Alex Debon (Lotus Aprilia) fell back into a battle for fourth. But Barbera closed on the leaders for a game of chase through the middle part of the race. If any had an advantage, he was in no hurry to show it. Simoncelli was content to led Bautista lead, and Barbera apparently happy to follow. Over the last laps, Bautista kept upping the pace. Eventually it was too much for Barbera, who settled for third. But Simoncelli remained ever- present and ever-threatening. His chance finally came on the last lap. Bautista was tight and defensive at the end of the back straight, but ran wide. Simoncelli dived inside, and held the advantage over the ensuing final right-handers to win by just four hundredths. “A fantastic race. I managed to win when Alvaro made a mistake,” acknowledged the Italian. Points leader Mike Kallio (Red Bull KTM) rode a canny race, and was making his way successfully through the battle for fourth when his engine went sick with four laps left. Debon took the place; Luthi fending off Pasini for fifth. Kallio retained a shrinking lead, with double winner Simoncelli three behind, and Pasini consigned to a close third. 44