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Aoyama primed for title push as season concludes

Aoyama primed for title push as season concludes

Hiroshi Aoyama needs to finish eleventh or higher at Valencia to be crowned the 2009 250cc World Champion.

After prevailing in his epic battle with Marco Simoncelli at Sepang, Hiroshi Aoyama is within touching distance of being named the 2009 250cc World Champion in the final race of the season at Valencia.

Simoncelli had narrowed the gap at the top of the standings to just 12 points prior to Malaysia, but an enthralling ‘head-to-head’ was won by Aoyama who now heads to Spain with a 21-point cushion.

Should Simoncelli win his seventh race of the campaign at Valencia – thus surpassing his total from 2008 when he won the title – Aoyama would need to finish no lower than eleventh to still take the crown.

The Scot Honda rider has a chequered history at the circuit however, with last year’s fifth place being his best-ever finish. Prior to that, Aoyama has placed sixth and tenth and registered two DNFs, whereas Simoncelli won last year’s race having already secured the title.

Héctor Barberá in third place could mathematically catch Simoncelli in second, but would need to finish second or higher at Valencia and hope for a poor result for the Metis Gilera man. Barberá has a strong record at the track, having finished inside the top five on five occasions in the 250cc and 125cc classes.

Álvaro Bautista’s title hopes ended with his second crash in three races at Sepang, and Valencia is the only one of the three Spanish circuits on the calendar at which he has not tasted a GP victory. Fourth in the championship is safe for the Mapfre Aspar man, who could take third with a good display if Barberá falters.

Mattia Pasini in fifth is 21 points ahead of Thomas Luthi, who leads a pack which also comprises Raffaele de Rosa, Mike di Meglio, Héctor Faubel and Álex Debón. Those five riders are separated by just six points in the battle for sixth spot.


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