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GP Week : Issue 62
250: Simoncelli drops it, Barbera picks it up POLE starter Hiro Aoyama (Scot Honda) was consigned to fourth by the end of lap one, with Mattia Pasini (Team Toth Aprilia), Marco Simoncelli (Metis Gilera) and Hector Barbera (Pepe World Aprilia) leading the way. Simoncelli, less than five kilometres from his home, took the lead on lap two, and the first three pulled away from the pursuit, now led by Hector Faubel (SAG Honda). One lap later and Aoyama had lost another position, to title rival Alvaro Bautista (Mapfre Aspar Aprilia), whose team-mate Mike di Meglio was just a couple of places behind. The leaders were still less than two seconds away and swapping around, Pasini now back in front, when three became two. The loser was Simoncelli, second when he lost the rear and spun out on the 13th lap. It was, he said, a problem with the traction control. Now it was between Barbera and Pasini, and the outcome impossible to predict. Pasini led over the line more often, but with three laps to go Barbera got ahead, and though they swapped several times before the flag, the Spaniard was in front by four hundredths of a second when it mattered. "I had to work so hard for that. Pasini fought all the way," said Barbera, whose last win was at the opening round; while Pasini congratulated his rival on a brilliant last lap. "He closed the door on me everywhere." The battle for third was as absorbing. By half distance a big gang had been split up, with Bautista, Aoyama and di Meglio alone. The lone Honda rider tried over and over to get ahead, but every move into a corner was reversed again on the way out. Then Bautista missed a gear to drop to the back of the trio, but Aoyama had the same trouble trying to put a firm pass on di Meglio. The Frenchman led at the start of the last lap, and again they swapped back and forth, crossing the line almost side by side, with Bautista taking the rostrum slot, then Aoyama and di Meglio. Jules Cluzel (Matteoni Aprilia) survived at the head of the chase group for sixth, less than a second ahead of Alex Debon (Aeropuerto Castello Aprilia) and Raffaele de Rosa (Scot Honda), with Faubel dropping back in ninth. Ratthapark Wilairot (Thai Honda) had been in the gang, but crashed out with five laps left. Bautista clawed back three points from Aoyama, now on 205 to the Spaniard's 192, Simoncelli has 165, Barbera 158 and Pasini 120. Moto GP San Marino >> 31