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GP Week : Issue 123
With fine weather at last, the first race of the day gave the sun-soaked crowd a varied and stimulating antipasto. Up front, a two-bike game of 125 chess; behind them ever-larger groups battling towards that crucial final drafting battle down the long finishing straight. For the leaders, it was the returned Nico Terol who timed it better. The title-leading Bancaja Aspar Aprilia rider had led the early stages, then given way to Frenchman Johann Zarco (AirAsia Derbi) for the second half. They were seldom more than a bike- length apart, more usually just centimetres. Terol had an injury – a badly damaged right little finger that meant he missed the last race: “I couldn’t brake very hard,” he said. But there was a card up his sleeve. He and Zarco both knew Terol’s bike was faster. The Spaniard waited until the very end of the last lap, taking a perfect exit line from the final corner and sweeping past to win by less than two tenths. As good as a country mile. Third was a nail-biter, won by inches by precocious rookie Maverick Vinales (Blusens Aprilia) from Efren Vazquez (AirAsia Derbi) and Hector Faubel (Bancia Aspar Aprilia). Until lap eight Luis Salom (RW Aprilia) had been part of this absorbing battle but had dropped 14 seconds behind by the end. A wet qualifying muddled the grid, Jonas Folger (Red Bull Aprilia) had come charging through from 21st to join battle for seventh with Sandro Cortese (Intact Aprilia) and Sergio Gadea (Blusens Aprilia). He got to the front but crashed out with three laps left. Gadea pipped Cortese to the line in spite of being roughly elbowed to one side, both within a second of Salom. A huge gang battled over ninth, with returned injury victim Miguel Oliviera (Andalucia Bank Aprilia) heading team- mate Alberto Moncayo, then Jakub Kornfeil (Ongetta Aprilia) and Marcel Schrotter on the Mahindra in the bike’s strongest race (though not best finish) so far. Team-mate Danny Webb retired in agony, starting with a shoulder fracture after a heavy crash in morning warm-up. Then the reshuffle: Cortese was penalised for elbowing Gadea, and an extra 20 seconds dropped him to 12th. Terol heads Zarco 153:114. Vinales has 106, Folger 101, Cortese 98. 125: Terol waits, then pounces 28