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GP Week : Issue 56
>>Moto GPDONINGTON 250: Hiro the hero on drying track IFFY conditions put all but one rider on wet tyres for the start. The conditions did not co-operate. The rain stayed away and the track steadily dried off. That rider was onerace returned veteran Ralf Waldmann, who retired. Some riders stopped for slicks, but none of those up front, preferring to battle on with what they had. A lonely battle, in most cases. Not least for Scot Honda’s Hiro Aoyama, going for his third win of the year and extending his title lead. He hit the front at the end of lap one, and never saw another bike unless he was lapping it, or being unlapped at the end by a rider on slicks. There was pressure aplenty though, when after 16 laps slow starter Alvaro Bautista (Mapfre Aprilia) started to close. The Spaniard had started badly, but was past Alex Debon (Aeropuerto Castello Aprilia) and Mattia Pasini (Team Toth Aprilia) into second on lap seven. He was six seconds adrift of the leader. After lap 24, he had cut the interval to 2.3 seconds, but his effort was spent. While Aoyama battled to hold his pace Bautista (twice crashing in practice and in increasing pain) decided “it was better to finish and get 20 points”. Pasini actually fell at the hairpin while battling with Debon, only for Debon to slip off at the very next corner. Both remounted, Pasini getting going first. By the finish, defending champion Marco Simoncelli (Metis Gilera) was closing on Pasini, but with his own tyres shot he finished fourth. Mike di Meglio (Mapfre Aprilia) was fifth, passing Debon on the last lap; some way back Raffaele de Rosa (Scot Honda) managed to outpace pole starter Hector Barbera (Pepe World Aprilia). Thomas Luthi (EmmiCaffe Latte Aprilia) and Hector Faubel (SAG Honda) completed the top ten. Aoyama now leads on 159 points to Bautista’s 144, with Simoncelli up to third ahead of Barbera, 115 points to 114. Pasini is fourth on 80. 41