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GP Week : Issue 17
FANS saw two races for the price of one, but potential second runaway British 125 winner Bradley Smith suffered a broken heart as rain hit the race after ten of 22 planned laps. The red-headed teen (Polaris World Aprilia) had a lead of three seconds when he was the first to hit the wet, and went tumbling. Joan Olive (Belson Derbi) had been a fading second until overtaken by Nicolas Terol (Jack & Jones Aprilia), who was closing only slowly on the flying Bradley. The race was red flagged as others also paid the price, and Smith was able to restart, in pole position, for a five-lap dash. This time he was swamped from the start, dropping to eighth in a desperate brawl. Olive led for four laps; all hell broke loose on the fifth. First Esteve Rabat (Repsol KTM) burst through at the end of the back straight, but he too was swamped in the final run to the line as the tough guys got going. Toughest of all was ex-boxer and defending champion Gabor Talmacsi, right, whose first win of the year was by 0.128 of a second. Olive (#6) was second, and Simone Corsi (Jack & Jones Aprilia) third, with Cortese, Smith, Rabat, di Meglio, Iannone and the rest all inches apart. Last week’s first-time winner Scott Redding was one of four who did not make the restart. He’d dropped to 15th in the first leg, at the back of a huge group disputing seventh, his engine losing power. A failed exhaust valve meant no restart. Di Meglio’s seventh meant his points lead over Corsi shrunk, 141 to 125. Olive has 94, but Talmacsi is closing fast on 93. 125: Cryin’ in the rain ALVARO Bautista took a convincing second win of the season, conquering difficult mixed conditions that saw the already delayed start held off for another five minutes to allow another rain shower to blow over. The sprinkling came back in the race, especially towards the end, triggering wildly varying lap times and positions likewise shuffling back and forth. Ex-125 champion Thomas Luthi (Emmi Caffe Latte Aprilia) took an early lead, and stretched it to three seconds after six laps. By now, however, pole starter Bautista (Mapfre Aspar Aprilia) had come through from eighth on lap one to second, and he closed the gap steadily to take the lead for the first time on lap 13. The rain started a couple of laps later, and Bautista was more cautious than Luthi, who took to the front again. On lap 17 he had two seconds advantage, but again it was no foregone conclusion. As the track dried, Bautista got going rapidly once more, finally winning by almost five seconds. “It was a crazy race,” he grinned. Title challenger Marco Simoncelli (Metis Gilera) was punted off at the first corner, finishing the first lap 12th. He too was on a charge, and by half distance had joined a quarter contesting third. His companions were Alex Debon (Lotus Aprilia), Hector Barbera (Toth Aprilia), and the Red Bull KTMs of Mika Kallio and Hiro Aoyama. By the finish he’d prevailed for a secure third behind Luthi, while Debon narrowly defeated Barbera, who three times took to the escape road at the end of the back straight. Aoyama was sixth, with Kallio – troubled by tyre chatter – just ahead of a fast-closing Yuki Takahashi’s Scot Honda. Kallio retained a title lead shrunk to just one point, 140 to Simoncelli’s 139. Debon and Bautista have 114 and 102 respectively. Mattia Pasini (Polaris World Aprilia), who crashed out, is now fifth on 98. 250: Bautista handles the conditions best 36