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Simoncelli holds out for 250cc triumph in Australia

Simoncelli holds out for 250cc triumph in Australia

World Championship leader Marco Simoncelli was victorious at Phillip Island in the 250cc class.

Marco Simoncelli held off the challenge of Alvaro Bautista at Phillip Island to edge one step closer to the 250cc world title, taking his fifth win of the 2008 season in a fiercely contested duel.

The race had been a two-rider battle between the top pair in the class from the halfway point, as Simoncelli and Bautista shook off the rest of the leading pack with some blisteringly fast laps. Sebastian Porto´s circuit record from 2004 came tumbling down after having been broken by Simoncelli on just the second lap, and the final moments of the race involved Bautista stalking his persistent rival for a last-gasp pass.

Simoncelli found just enough of an advantage to steer clear of Bautista´s advances, the two riders touching on the last lap in a tense moment. Both riders stayed up, with the Metis Gilera rider pulling away from the Mapfre Aspar man.

The top three in the race were the same as in the overall standings, with Mika Kallio slipstreaming Julian Simon on the home straight to take the podium by just 0.028. The Finn picked up valuable points for his own ultimately fruitless attempts to prevent a Simoncelli title victory, whilst Simon was once again denied a first podium in the class.

Alex Debon, Roberto Locatelli and Yuki Takahashi had an entertaining fight to decide positions five through seven, whilst Aleix Espargaro, Ratthapark Wilairot and Fabrizio Lai rounded off the top ten.

Simoncelli has the chance to win the quarter-litre crown at the next race in Malaysia.


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