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GP Week : Issue 19
RAIN or shine, there’s nothing like a brand new bike … especially if it is streets better than your old one. Marco Simoncelli’s latest factory Metis Gilera/Aprilia (above) put him on a dominant pole position in the dry, and took him away to a different world in the streaming wet race. He powered into the lead on the first lap, and away he went. At one point he was eight seconds clear. “I thought it would be a difficult race, because of the new bike. But the weekend was perfect,” he said. He had tested the all-new machine at Brno only the week before. The big-haired Italian’s prize included the World Championship lead as they go into the summer break, after Red Bull KTM’s Mika Kallio could do no better than fourth in sodden conditions, coming off worst after leading a five- bike battle for second. The position went to Hector Barbera (Team Toth Aprilia), pictured right, who tamed his usual hot-headed style in a show of maturity as he held a hard-pushing Alvaro Bautista (Mapfre Aspar Aprilia) at bay over the closing laps. Kallio, barely a second down, headed Julian Simon (Repsol KTM) and Mattia Pasini (Polaris World Aprilia), the last-named having followed Bautista through as the Spaniard made up in spades for a dire start, finishing lap one 17th. Hiro Aoyama (Red Bull KTM) had been with them before slipping off, remounting with a flapping fairing still in the top ten, so spread out were the rest. He finished eighth, behind Thomas Luthi (Caffe- Latte Aprilia), but staying ahead of Japanese rival Yuki Takahashi (Team Scot Honda), in turn pushed hard by Roberto Locatelli (Metis Gilera), completing the top ten. Alex Debon (Lotus Gilera) was among five to crash out, early on, dropping to fourth overall on 114 points. Simoncelli has 164, Kallio 153, with Bautista up on 118. 250: New Gilera hits the spot 26