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Simoncelli narrows gap with win in curtailed race

Simoncelli narrows gap with win in curtailed race

A red flag ended the action with six laps remaining at Phillip Island, as Marco Simoncelli’s sixth win of the season increased his chances of retaining the 250cc World Championship title.

Marco Simoncelli narrowed the gap on Hiroshi Aoyama in the 250cc World Championship to 12 points with a win at Phillip Island, as the Japanese rider was classified in seventh position when the race was red flagged.

Roberto Locatelli’s high-side crash which resulted in him lying stricken on the track brought the action to a premature end, with Simoncelli leading, Álvaro Bautista having already crashed when in second place earlier in the race, and Aoyama having risen to fourth from seventh on the last completed lap.

Simoncelli assumed the lead early on and the Italian maintained that for the remainder of the race, until a red flag on the 18th lap handed him the win, with Héctor Barberá in second and Raffaele de Rosa in third.

Championship leader Aoyama was down in seventh from third on the grid in the early stages, and with Bautista hot on his heels the pressure was on the Japanese rider. Bautista’s worst qualifying position of the year, which saw him start in tenth place, was steadily improved upon as the race progressed.

Barberá kept pace with Simoncelli at the front, with pole holder De Rosa just over 0.5s further back, and Mattia Pasini crashed out with 17 laps remaining to bring to an end a difficult weekend which saw him suffer a similar fate in qualifying.

A crash for Bautista took him out of the picture, and on the next lap Jules Cluzel’s spill saw Aoyama climb to fourth. The drama intensified however with Locatelli’s spill at MG Corner.

That handed Simoncelli the race victory and cut the deficit in the race for the title on Aoyama, while Cluzel was handed fourth despite his crash and Mike di Meglio finished fifth. Karel Abraham’s sixth spot was the Czech’s best-ever race result.

Locatelli suffered bruising to his lower back but escaped without serious injury, while Simoncelli’s win was the 200th for an Italian rider in the 250cc class.

Tags:
250cc, 2009, Iveco AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX, RAC

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