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GP Week : 01-Sep-2009
250: Marco back-to-back DEFENDING champion Marco Simoncelli (Metis Gilera) bounced back from three practice crashes and ran a string of ever-faster record laps to finally break the tow from his race-long shadow Hiro Aoyama (Scot Honda), and become the first rider this year to take successive race wins. It was a masterly display of forceful riding. The big-haired Italian took precise Japanese points leader to his limits before breaking away in the final laps to win by almost two seconds. French privateer Jules Cluzel (Matteoni Aprilia) had been fastest in wet practice, and flew through from the second row to lead the first three laps. But he, or at least his machine, was out of their depth, and he had dropped to fourth behind also pole starter Mike di Meglio (Mapfre Aprilia) when he slid off on lap eight. Alvaro Bautista had started badly to finish lap one ninth, but picked his way through. By half distance he was closing fast on team-mate di Meglio, himself still within two seconds of the leaders. Any hopes they might all close up were scotched by Simoncelli: "In the last laps I rode at my 100 percent and more ... like qualifying laps." He stretched them out, with Bautista 2.7- seconds down on Aoyama after surging past di Meglio, who had dropped a long way back by the end. Aoyama had survived a collision with a badly out-of- shape di Meglio early on, and said: "In the race I nearly crashed a few times, so I am happy to be third." He had the consolation of extending his points lead over Bautista. Roberto Locatelli had a storming ride to fifth on the second Gilera, passing and finally outpacing Hector Barbera (Pepe World Aprilia), who had missed a gear off the line and got caught up in the pack. Ratthapark Wilairot (Thai Honda) had been with the pair, along with Lukas Pesek (Auto Kelly Aprilia) ... only to break down with three laps left. Pesek dropped away in seventh. Faubel was alone, then Luthi and Pons completed the top ten. Aoyama extended his lead over Bautista by four points, 192 to 176; but Simoncelli is closing on 165. Barbera is fourth on 133, then Pasini, who crashed out today, on 100. Moto GP INDIANAPOLIS >> 39