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GP Week : Issue 56
125: Shortest ever GP favours a few WEATHER and circumstances played into the hands of points leader Julian Simon, and away from home-race hero Bradley Smith. The Englishman started from pole, and was holding a handy fourth, ahead of his rival, when rain ruined the first race after 14 laps, the sudden shower sending several riders flying. At the time Pol Espargaro (Derbi) had just started to move away up front, chased by Nico Terol’s J&J Aprilia. By rules that now seem 0 grotesquely unfair, the race was neutralised, counting only for grid positions for a five-lap sprint on a track now properly wet. With a distance of 20.115 km, it was the shortest distance every raced in a GP. Smith led round the first lap, everyone treading carefully, only to pay the price of pioneering at Coppice Corner, sliding gracefully into the gravel. Espargaro also had bike setting problems, and his earlier efforts for nothing as he dropped back through the pack to finish tenth. There were five up front, Terol dropping away from the gang after two laps. This left Simone Corsi (Fontana Aprilia) disputing the lead with Marc Marquez (Red Bull KTM), the youngster prevailing and even gaining a little gap when he went flying at the chicane near the end of lap four. Simon now pounced, taking the lead early on the final lap and hanging on for his third win of the year, one of his luckiest. Scott Redding (Blusens Aprilia) dropped away by the end for a safe third, with Terol fourth, then Takaaki Nakagami (Ongetta Aprilia) leading the rest of a spaced out field. Danny Webb and Joan Olive were out after a seven-bike pile-up on the first lap of the first attempt; Smith recovered for a pointless 20th. Simon’s points lead thus stretched yet further and his cushion doubled to two races: 154 points to Gadea on 104. Smith has 98.5, Terol 94.5 and Iannone, a non-finisher today, 93.5.