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Title rivals look back on Sepang

Title rivals look back on Sepang

Title rivals look back on Sepang

Tough Thomas Luthi won the 125cc race at Sepang with a stirring ride from pole position despite carrying injuries from his heavy crash at Motegi the previous weekend, finishing ahead of title rival Mika Kallio.

Luthi powered into the lead from the off and by the halfway stage the young Swiss had built up a 1.4 second lead. But Kallio slowly reeled him in and with nine laps to go Luthi's advantage was down to just under a second.

It looked as if the punishment of 19 laps of this demanding 5.548km track in searing heat would be too much for Honda's injured World Championship leader, but Luthi showed real steel to hold off a determined Kallio to win by the slenderest of margins at the flag – just two thousandths of a second.

"I started a little too fast and the front end came up on me," explained Lüthi. "After that I braked hard at the first and second corners and got the lead. Once in front I tried to breakaway by running 2'15s lap times, but Kallio eventually caught me. We stayed together and towards the end of the race the pace dropped to 2'17s. Then on the last lap I put in another 2'15s lap and held on to win. That was my tactic and it paid off. I'm really happy after what happened at Motegi."

Mika Kallio, who is now eight points adrift of the Championship leader, wasn't too downcast by the outcome of the race as it was a very close contest. But the Flying Finn will be eager to strike back this week in Qatar.

"My plan was to try and pass Luthi on the back straight on the final lap but I made a mistake at second last corner and he pulled out a small gap," commented the KTM rider. "I had a good line in the final corner and opened the gas early but it wasn't enough. It was very difficult to catch Luthi early in the race, he was very fast, and towards the end my left leg was numb because of the crash. It's disappointing to be second but eight points is not a lot in the championship - I still have a very good chance."


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