Simon beats Smith at Valencia
|By Michele Lostia||Sunday, November 8th 2009, 11:11 GMT|
Julian Simon celebrated his 125cc title in perfect style by winning in front of his home fans in the season finale at Valencia.
The Spaniard led home an Aspar Aprilia one-two ahead of Bradley Smith, who led until four laps from the end and put up an unsuccessful fight against his team-mate on the final lap.
Smith, who briefly risked not taking part in the race when his Aprilia wouldn't start for the warm-up lap but eventually got going, shot off quicker than anyone else when the lights went out to lead from third on the grid.
The Briton soon opened up a bit of a gap, but with Simon in second by the end of the first lap, the gap soon started to close, while the rest of the runners progressively saw the leading pair get further and further away.
By lap six of the 24-lap race, Pol Espargaro emerged as the quickest chaser of the leading duo, who were, however, already six seconds up the road.
But the Derbi rider had just slotted into third and he began to open up a gap over the rest of the field. The gap became as wide as seven seconds on lap 20, but he was never a worry for the Aspar pair, who were over ten seconds ahead.
On that lap, Smith went wide at the exit of the final corner and was passed by Simon. The Spaniard managed to put some distance over the Briton, but the latter managed to close that gap on the penultimate lap to set up a fight on the last lap.
And a fight it was: Smith overtook Simon but went wide, allowing the new champion to re-take the lead. Then the Oxford-born rider managed to make a move stick, but the eventual winner made his successful overtaking manoeuvre a couple of corners later, and a last-gasp attack on the outside by Smith was to no avail.
The most exciting battle, however, was for fourth place, with around ten riders exchanging positions for most of the race and six coming within 1.2s of each other at the flag.
Simone Corsi (Fontana Aprilia) won this fight for fourth, but it was the man in fifth who made the greatest impression.
This was German wildcard entry Marcel Schrotter, who in only his fourth world championship race with an old Toni Mang-entered Honda fought tooth and nail against the more experienced riders and never put a foot wrong.
The Derbis of Joan Olive and Efren Vazquez finished sixth and seventh, followed by Sandro Cortese on the Ajo-entered Derbi.
KTM's Marc Marquez was among the pack of riders running for fourth, but crashed after being hit by Olive on the last lap.
Pos Rider Bike Time/Gap 1. Julian Simon Aprilia 41m17.553s 2. Bradley Smith Aprilia + 0.220s 3. Pol Espargaro Derbi + 12.123s 4. Simone Corsi Aprilia + 17.577s 5. Marcel Schrotter Honda + 17.917s 6. Joan Olive Derbi + 18.334s 7. Efren Vazquez Derbi + 18.502s 8. Sandro Cortese Derbi + 18.553s 9. Randy Krummenacher Aprilia + 18.731s 10. Nicolas Terol Aprilia + 21.280s 11. Dominique Agerter Derbi + 23.635s 12. Lorenzo Zanetti Aprilia + 34.369s 13. Luis Salom Aprilia + 37.950s 14. Takaaki Nakagami Aprilia + 38.090s 15. Johann Zarco Aprilia + 40.043s 16. Sergio Gadea Aprilia + 44.478s 17. Marc Marquez KTM + 58.437s 18. Jasper Iwema Honda + 1m03.814s 19. Alberto Moncayo Aprilia + 1m08.362s 20. Tomoyoshi Koyama Loncin + 1m24.971s 21. Luca Marconi Aprilia + 1 lap Retirements: Cameron Beaubier KTM 23 laps Luca Vitali Aprilia 21 laps Jonas Folger Aprilia 17 laps Ivan Maestro Aprilia 11 laps Jakub Kornfeil Loncin 9 laps Stefan Bradl Aprilia 8 laps Lorenzo Savadori Aprilia 6 laps Esteve Rabat Aprilia 5 laps Scott Redding Aprilia 5 laps Sturla Fagerhaug KTM 4 laps Michael Ranseder Aprilia 3 laps Andrea Iannone Aprilia 1 lap Joan Perello Honda 0 laps Danny Webb Aprilia 0 laps