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Simon beats Smith at Valencia

Julian Simon and Bradley Smith, Aspar Aprilia, Valencia 2009Julian 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


     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
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Simon secures Valencia pole