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Aoyama and Simoncelli take 250cc battle to Malaysia

Aoyama and Simoncelli take 250cc battle to Malaysia

After an eventful Phillip Island race which was cut short by a red flag, the 250cc title battle recommences immediately at Sepang with Marco Simoncelli gaining on leader Hiroshi Aoyama.

Marco Simoncelli’s win in a shortened race in Australia, combined with Hiroshi Aoyama’s seventh place at Phillip Island, means the defending 250cc World Champion is now 12 points behind the current championship leader with two races of the season remaining.

Simoncelli is taking each race as it comes in his bid to retain his title before his step up to MotoGP next season, but Aoyama is still the standard bearer as the riders head for South East Asia.

Aoyama could still end the title challenge of Simoncelli in Sepang by claiming the crown himself – a win for the Japanese rider and no higher than fifth for his Metis Gilera rival would deliver that, while there are a host of other permutations involving Álvaro Bautista (Mapfre Aspar Team) and Héctor Barberá (Pepe World Team) as well.

Simoncelli has only ever finished on the podium at Sepang once, coming in third in his title-winning season last year, while Aoyama has enjoyed a win and second place in his last two seasons.

Barberá’s second place in Australia narrowed the gap on the championship’s third-placed rider Bautista, who crashed and ended tenth in the race, to four points, while Mattia Pasini in fifth place in the standings failed to finish.

Bautista won last year’s race at Sepang and Barberá came second in 2007, so both have experience of faring well at the circuit.


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