Tue, Jun 16, 2009 - Page 18 News List

Simon squanders 125 win after celebrating too early

REUTERS AND AFP , MADRID AND MONTMELO, SPAIN

Aprilia’s Spanish rider Julian Simon leans into a curve ahead of Ongetta Team’s Italian rider Andrea Iannone during the 125cc race of the Catalunya Grand Prix in Montmelo, Spain, on Sunday.

PHOTO: AFP

Andrea Iannone snatched a bizarre win in the 125cc race in the Catalunya MotoGP on Sunday when leader Spanish pole-sitter Julian Simon celebrated victory a lap too early and eventually finished back in fourth.

Simon and Italian Iannone battled for top spot throughout at the Circuit de Catalunya until Simon crossed the line in first place with one lap left in the 22-lap race. He promptly slowed down and raised his fist in mistaken triumph.

Iannone zipped past into the lead for his third win of the year and Spaniard Nicolas Terol and compatriot Sergio Gadea also finished ahead of Simon in second and third.

THE MAIN EVENT

Italian Valentino Rossi won the main event on Sunday, beating Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo after an audacious move on the final corner of a thrilling last lap.

In what must have been one of the most exciting finishes to a major Grand Prix race, the lead exchanged three times on the final lap as Lorenzo desperately tried to give the Spanish fans a home victory.

However, Rossi displayed all the nervelessness and talent that have brought him so much success over the years to get past him on the final corner to take the checkered flag for his 99th victory in a major race.

“It was a great race and so exciting,” Rossi said. “It was so unbelievable and Jorge was so great.”

Lorenzo, who has admitted that he is not the best of friends with Rossi off the track, said: “It was a memorable race. Valentino and me did our best to give a spectacle.”

“We will see what happens in the next race,” said the 22-year-old, who now shares the overall standings lead with Rossi and Australian Casey Stoner, the trio locked on 106 points after six races.

Stoner, the 2007 world champion and the series leader going into the race, was third, eight seconds adrift.

Lorenzo and Rossi swapped the lead over several laps and the Italian bided his time before overtaking his Spanish rival with three laps remaining.

Lorenzo then edged ahead with two laps remaining, but very briefly as Rossi got down the inside of the Spaniard with a daring move that saw the Italian have to bring his leg in so as not to touch Lorenzo.

With five laps to go Stoner was completely out of contention, trailing by over seven seconds, and had to settle for third and a share of the overall lead.

BAUTISTA ON TOP

Earlier, Spaniard Alvaro Bautista, riding an Aprilia, won the 250cc race.

Bautista, whose victory consolidated his position atop the riders’ overall standings, finished more than seven seconds up on second-placed Hiroshi Aoyama of Japan.

Defending world champion and winner in Catalunya last year, Marco Simoncelli, fell during the third lap and although he tried to get back on his bike, was forced to pull out.

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