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GP Week : Issue 59
250: Saving the best ‘til last DEFENDING champion Marco Simoncelli (Metis Gilera) showed all his class to prevail in an exciting 250 race, taking control of a leading group of four in the middle stages, and then battling to the end with earlier leader Mattia Pasini (Team Toth Aprilia) for his third win of the year. The Italian saved his best effort for the final lap, his fastest of the race and not quite a new record, as he finally broke free from his countryman to win by almost seven tenths. The third survivor of the group was Alvaro Bautista (Mapfre Aspar Aprilia), who had caught up only to lose touch with a near high-side with five laps to go, and settled for third, a few seconds adrift. Then he pulled a celebratory wheelie on the slow-down lap, and ground-looped spectacularly at speed. Simoncelli explained that it had taken time to find his rhythm. “But at the end of the race my bike was perfect, and I could push at 100 percent, and get a little gap on Pasini.” His defeated rival was also happy, having overcome fever problems before the race. “It’s unbelievable to be second, after starting from seventh,” he said. Bautista was wreathed in smiles after his post-race indiscretion. “I made a bad flip,” he joked. For the race, “I tried a different suspension setting in the morning and again for the race, and though I had a good feeling, I had no reference, so it was difficult.” He caught up, but by the end his back tyre was finished. “I nearly crashed, so then I thought third was okay.” Points leader Hiro Aoyama (Scot Honda) had been with the leaders, but lost ground after the mid-point of the race. By the end he was all but caught and passed by first-laps leader Roberto Locatelli (Metis Gilera), who had dropped back to eighth then come through again. Hector Barbera (Pepe World Aprilia) had taken over the lead early on, but also dropped back by the end with sliding tyres, ceding sixth to class rookie Raffaele de Rosa (Scot Honda), who had followed Locatelli back through. Aoyama still leads on points, 172 to Bautista’s 160, with Simoncelli inching closer on 140. Barbera (123) and Pasini (100) fill the top five. 125: Runaway Terol takes the tiddlers NICOLAS Terol (J&J Aprilia) took his first win of the season, leading from start to finish and resisting fierce pressure from pole starter Andrea Iannone (ISPA Aprilia) and points leader Julian Simon (Bancaja Aspar Aprilia) to win by less than two tenths of a second. By then Iannone had dropped out of contention, his front tyres tired out and his braking problematic; but Simon was pushing to the finish. Simon’s Britain’s Bradley Smith was fourth, after breaking free in the early stages from a massive gang disputing an eventual fifth. Run in hot and dry conditions, the race saw Terol and Iannone break free from the first lap. “I wanted to be sure there were as few riders as possible in the front group,” explained Terol afterwards. Delighted with his second career victory, the first in the dry, he said: “I’ve been so close so many times.” Simon found his way past fast-starting Sergio Gadea (Bancaja Aspar Aprilia) on Lap 2, and closed up a second’s gap to take second on the fifth of 19 laps. From there the front three circulated together, until with five laps left Terol pushed again. Only Simon was able to go with him, but he could do no more. “This track is difficult for my style,” he said. “I tried to attack Nico at the end, but he had very good lines. It was impossible.” Behind Smith, battle raged to the end; still seven riders together as they started the last lap, Stefan Bradl (Viessman Aprilia) holding the lead, as he had for the last part of the race. It went wrong for the German teenager when he ran wide. This let Pol Espargaro (Derbi) and Sandro Cortese (Ajo Derbi) through, and at the same time held back Marc Marquez (Red Bull KTM) in eighth, with Gadea, Joan Olive (Derbi) and Johann Zarco (WTR Aprilia) piled up behind him. Simon’s significant points lead shrank by slightly while Terol moved to second overall, 174 points to 119.5. Smith is down to third on 111.5; then Gadea 111 and Iannone 109.5.