Simoncelli beats Aoyama at Indy
|By Michele Lostia||Sunday, August 30th 2009, 18:30 GMT|
Marco Simoncelli has taken a strong victory in the 250cc Indianapolis Grand Prix to reduce the points gap to championship leader Hiroshi Aoyama.
The Gilera rider, who lost one position at the start from third on the grid, took the lead on lap 4 from Matteoni Aprilia's Jules Cluzel - who made a perfect getaway from fifth to lead at the first corner - and resisted race-long pressure from Aoyama.
The two rivals - now separated by 27 points with Alvaro Bautista in the middle - were running close to each other until five laps from the end of the 26-lap race, when a small mistake by the Scot Honda rider allowed Simoncelli to begin opening a small gap that was widened with two consecutive fastest laps by the Italian.
In the end, Simoncelli won by almost two seconds over the Japanese rival, with Bautista's Aspar Aprilia not far off.
The Spaniard, who dropped to tenth from sixth on the grid, made up ground throughout the race, including overtaking team-mate Mike di Meglio with ten laps to go, but in the end couldn't get close enough to Aoyama and finished almost three seconds further back.
Rookie di Meglio ran with the two front runners for most of the race but dropped off the pace towards the end and finished fourth just two seconds ahead of Gilera's Roberto Locatelli, who made a fine race from 12th on the grid.
Hector Barbera, who made a terrible start from fourth to 13th at the first corner, salvaged a disappointing sixth place after dominating practice and the warm-up with his Pepe Aprilia.
Lucas Pesek (CP Aprilia), Hector Faubel (Honda SAG), Thomas Luthi (Emmi Aprilia) and Karel Abraham (Cardion Aprilia) complete the top ten.
Ratthapak Wilairot was having a great race to sixth place when the engine in his Thai Honda failed just three laps from the end.
Mattia Pasini crashed his Toth Aprilia on lap 5 shortly after overtaking di Meglio for fourth place. Three laps later, Cluzel dropped off his Matteoni Aprilia while running fourth. The bike kept running through the turn until it hit the barriers and luckily didn't bounce back onto the track.
CLASSIFIED: Pos Rider Bike Time 1. Marco Simoncelli Gilera 45m43.599s 2. Hiroshi Aoyama Honda + 1.943s 3. Alvaro Bautista Aprilia + 4.661s 4. Mike Di Meglio Aprilia + 12.776s 5. R.Locatelli Gilera + 15.475s 6. Hector Barbera Aprilia + 19.471s 7. Lukas Pesek Aprilia + 22.682s 8. Hector Faubel Honda + 32.809s 9. Thomas Luthi Aprilia + 49.321s 10. Karel Abraham Aprilia + 49.845s 11. Raffaele De Rosa Honda + 53.567s 12. Alex Baldolini Aprilia +1m29.717s 13. Valentin Debise Honda +1m37.837s 14. Axel Pons Aprilia +1m46.672s 15. Vladimir Leonov Aprilia +1m46.821s 16. Balazs Nemeth Aprilia + 1 lap 17. Imre Toth Aprilia + 1 lap 18. Barrett Long Yamaha + 1 lap 19. Adam Roberts Yamaha + 1 lap NOT CLASSIFIED/RETIREMENTS: Rider Bike On lap R.Wilairot Honda 23 Alex Debon Aprilia 18 Jules Cluzel Aprilia 7 Mattia Pasini Aprilia 5 Bastien Chesaux Honda 0 FASTEST LAP: Smith, 1m44.720s on lap 24