Malaysian GP: 125cc Race Report

 In Pol Espargaro

bradley-smith-malaysian-125cc-motogpThe 125cc Malaysian Grand Prix followed the script of the previous week’s Australian race almost to the letter, both in its main players and the development of the plot. A group of a dozen riders pushed hard from the outset, with two of those amongst their number -Nico Terol and Bradley Smith- in with a chance of taking the runner-up spot in the World Championship. Although Smith was once again in a fight with teammate and new titlist Julián Simón, this time the Briton nearly made an escape to victory. On lap three Simón pulled away, but Smith reacted and made two speedy laps to try and create space between them. In the end the duel saw the Spaniard victorious, following up on his title triumph.
Simón and Smith were riding almost side-by-side by the tie lap nine came around, having started from the front row and shown their respective hands early. The fastest lap of the race went to Smith, with a 2’14.068 that he used to catch back up to the 2009 champ. Simón made clear that he was not taking things easy with the pressure of the title off his shoulders, whilst his teammate’s result took him to second in the championship with an unassailable advantage. It is Smiths best finish in his Grand Prix career, and also confirms a 2009 1-2 for the Bancaja Aspar team.

The third member of the outfit, Sergio Gadea, started from eighteenth and made a fantastic recovery for fourth place. The Spaniard rode at his mercurial best and finally benefitted from some good fortune when at full throttle, taking no small amount of risks and coming very close to a podium finish in Sepang. The next and final round takes place in Valencia, at his home track.

1st Julián Simón:
“I am very happy with how the weekend went. We came here very relaxed, ready to enjoy the race without the worry of the title fight in our minds. However, we didn’t lose focus and our working spirit was just as strong as ever. My goal for the last two races was to continue on form and to gain more experience in leading races for a large amount of laps, something that will be useful for next season. I hope that next year we will also be fighting for a championship! At the start of the race I saw a chance to break clear, and I tried to take it although Bradley knew straight away what my plan was. He fought to catch me up, and I take my hat off to him because he rode a great race without being at 100% physically. I was worried about the slipstream on the last corner, so I went in hard and was able to win. Now it’s on to Valencia to try and get another win!”

4th Sergio Gadea:
“It was a very hard race, in which I knew what I had to do but not if I would be able to do it. I am very pleased with fourth place, and I think that both myself and the mechanics deserve it for the work that we put in. I hope to be in shape for Valencia, to try and bring them a win. I was very tired, because I had to ride above my limit to come back through the pack. I admit that I had a bit of luck. I didn’t now what the performance of the tyre would be like, but in the end it was a good choice. I had to be cautious on the opening laps, because I didn’t want to crash with such a big task ahead. When I saw the group stretching out I pushed to catch Nico, and I think that in the end if Pol hadn’t have broken away I could have taken the podium, but nevertheless I am happy with the race.”

Pos Rider Bike Time/Gap
1. Julian Simon Aprilia 42m50.916s
2. Bradley Smith Aprilia + 1.114s
3. Pol Espargaro Derbi + 6.293s
4. Sergio Gadea Aprilia + 8.003s
5. Nicolas Terol Aprilia + 8.485s
6. Sandro Cortese Derbi + 10.188s
7. Esteve Rabat Aprilia + 15.114s
8. Andrea Iannone Aprilia + 22.151s
9. Joan Olive Derbi + 26.388s
10. Lorenzo Zanetti Aprilia + 27.113s
11. Takaaki Nakagami Aprilia + 27.859s
12. Michael Ranseder Aprilia + 34.838s
13. Randy Krummenacher Aprilia + 41.829s
14. Dominique Aegerter Derbi + 42.433s
15. Luis Salom Aprilia + 51.635s
16. Elly Ilias Aprilia + 59.854s
17. Cameron Beaubier KTM + 1m07.131s
18. Jasper Iwema Honda + 1m14.171s
19. Jakub Kornfeil Loncin + 1m27.651s
20. Muhammad Zulfahmi Yamaha + 1m58.779s
21. Blake Leigh-Smith Honda + 2m06.062s
22. Quentin Jacquet Aprilia + 1 lap

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