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GP Week : Issue 122
THE first race of the day was the shortest. The scheduled 22 laps were red-flagged on the 15th as light rain started to settle in. It saved a number of crashes, and brought a fine second win to dazzling GP rookie Maverick Vinales (Blusens Paris Hilton Aprilia). With title leader Nico Terol out of the race with hand injuries in a practice tumble, his closest rivals had little opportunity to make hay. Instead they were battling tricky conditions, in a tooth-and-nail race. The 16-year-old Vinales’s team- mate Sergio Gadea led at first, with a huge gang battling inches behind. Efren Vazquez (Avant AirAsia Derbi) took over briefly; then his team-mate Johann Zarco. Then it was the turn of Sandro Cortese (Intact Aprilia). Cortese, Zarco and Gadea even took a little gap over the pursuit after seven laps. Then with rain spotting at several points they all closed up again, and Vinales started to move forwards from the back of the group. He took over from Cortese on lap 10. Two laps later he was still only narrowly ahead when the rain became heavier. Those in pursuit slowed down, Cortese actually raising his hand. But Vinales took no notice, and his lead grew rapidly, up to 3.6 seconds at the end of lap 15. At this point, the Wet Race flag came out, followed seconds later with the red flag. Just enough distance had been covered (two- thirds) to avoid a restart. Luis Salom (RW Aprilia) had been at the back of the front group, and as the weather deteriorated he moved to the front to take second, with Gadea a close third. Cortese had dropped to sixth at the back of the next trio, with Zarco and British rookie Dannie Kent (Red Bull Ajo Aprilia) ahead. Vazquez was next, losing touch in the rain and all but swallowed up by Jonas Folger (Red Bull Ajo Aprilia) and fellow- German Marcel Schrotter, giving the independent Mahindra its best result of the year ... team- mate Danny Webb was 13th, the team’s first double points finish. Terol’s cushion shrank, though he still has a race in hand – 128 points to Folger’s 101, with Cortese and Zarco (both 94) under threat from fifth-placed Vinales on 90. 125: Rampant rookie takes second wet win 48