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GP Week : Issue 43
>>MOTOJAPAN Rainy day blues for Edwards a freak setting glitch or error had Texan Tech 3 Yamaha rider fuming after the race, after his bike was somehow reset or defaulted onto power-down wet- weather settings. Already keen on a wet-weather race after running fastest on Friday morning’s sodden session, Edwards had credited Rossi’s wet- weather settings for giving him the speed. But he was ready for a dry race and the bike had been perfect on the warm-up, before it had been switched off to wait on the grid. Somehow it got switched to a wet engine mapping programme when it was fired up again. “Basically a massive f***-up,” said Edwards, who had been further bamboozled when his crew told him the electronics would automatically reset on the sighting lap. On the first lap, he was in trouble. “It was just a joke. I’m just so happy somebody didn’t run up the back off me. Mid-corner I was wide open and nothing would happen. It was dead.” He dropped to last, but managed to pick back up to 12th. 250:Bautista makes a strong man cry The first was title defender and returning hero Marco Simoncelli. The factory Gilera rider bravely overcame the injury that ruled him out at Qatar to lead from the start. Then he hit a kerb and punctured his front tyre. The second was Honda flag- bearer Hiro Aoyama, who led his and Honda’s home race for so long, only to be thoroughly trounced at the end. Defeat came at the happy hands of ever-smiling Spaniard Alvaro Bautista (Mapfre Aprilia), who also took the points lead ahead of Aoyama. Slow away from the front row to finish lap one eighth, he was second by half distance. Simoncelli’s drama was over. He’d led away firmly and was two seconds clear by lap five. Then Aoyama upped his pace and the champion was feeling the pressure when he hit the kerb at the end of lap nine, and slowed immediately to pit for a tyre change. At this point Aoyama had 1.7 seconds on Bautista, who had battled past team-mates Talmacsi and Qatar hero di Meglio. The latter then fell while holding a strong fifth, victim of the cross-track stream before the second bridge. The stands still cheered every time Aoyama led over the line, but Bautista was ever-poised to pounce, and did so on lap 18. He pulled away at better than a second a lap for a demoralising victory that saw Aoyama in tears on the rostrum. Mattia Pasini (Toth Aprilia) had got ahead of Talmacsi on lap six, and stayed there to the end. Alex Debon (Aprilia) had been with them, survived a run-off to climb back to sixth through a processional mid- field. Qatar winner Barbera (Pepe Aprilia) was a head- shaking 11th; Cluzel, Locatelli, Pons and Wilairot swelled the crash list. 125: It’s a gambler’s game ITalIan andrea Iannone made it two wins in a row after making the right tyre gamble for a race of two halves. After sodden morning warm-up, the first race found the track very damp in parts, with standing water under the two bridges. Sunshine prompted most to risk full slick tyres. It would pay off. Not before young Briton Danny Webb (Degraaf Aprilia) seized his spell of glory, taking the lead on lap two, and stretching away to almost ten seconds by the by mid-point. But while his lap times remained constant to the end, riders on slicks were now getting an advantage of up to six seconds a lap from the drying track. Things were changing fast. On lap 13 Julian Simon (Bancaja Aprilia) and Pol Espargaro (Derbi) took over, but pole starter Iannone (ISPA Aprilia) was charging through after dropping to 12th on lap seven. He mugged Espargaro with four laps left, and Simon next time round. The Spaniard fought back in vain, and Iannone set fastest lap on the last, to win by better than a second. Stefan Bradl (Kiefer Aprilia) had been in the front battle, and was still close in fourth. Fast kid Marc Marquez (Red Bull KTM) held off Sandro Cortese’s Ajo Derbi for fifth; Cortese had come fighting through from 17th on lap one, followed in seventh by Joan Olive, through from even further back. Ex-Red Bull Rookie Lorenzo Savadori (Aprilia) had a brief run of glory, with the leaders until falling on lap three; Webb fell back to an eventual 11th, better off than his early pursuers Corsi (15th) and Terol (17th). 41