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Simoncelli beats Aoyama at Indy

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.


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


     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
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