Pol Espargaro has taken a hard-fought victory in the Portuguese Grand Prix at Estoril as championship leader and Spanish compatriot Julian Simon threw away his chances of clinching the 125cc title today.
Espargaro resisted the challenge from fellow Derbi rider Sandro Cortese (Ajo) and Bradley Smith, whose Aspar Aprilia teammate Simon crashed two thirds into the 23-lap race while leading by a massive six seconds.
Simon, who managed nevertheless to rejoin the race and classify 12th, now holds a 50-point margin over Smith with three races to go this season, while Nicolas Terol remains 10.5 points further adrift after crashing ten laps before Simon while fighting in the leading group.
At that point the running was led by a large bunch of nine riders fighting tooth and nail. Terol hit Smith, who was rejoining the track at slower speed after running wide, with the brake lever of his Jack&Jones Aprilia, with the Spaniard crashing as a result.
On lap eight Efren Vazquez crashed his Derbi and left the leading pack down to seven riders, which became six two laps later when Terol's team-mate Simone Corsi crashed out of second position after setting the fastest lap of the race up to that point.
Three laps later it was Marc Marquez's turn to drop out of second place after a massive high side with his KTM that fortunately didn't cause him any injury.
So, with Stefan Bradl (Kiefer Aprilia) losing touch with the leading group, it was left to Espargaro, Cortese and Smith to fight it out to the end.
The three crossed the finish line in that order after Smith lost the lead on the penultimate lap to Espargaro, and while the Spaniard was opening a bit of a gap the Briton was also passed by Cortese at the beginning of the last lap.
Bradl classified a distant and lonely fourth, followed five seconds later by a large group of riders: Jean Olive, Sergio Gadea, Esteve Rabat, Dominique Agerter and Johann Zarco.
CLASSIFIED:Pos Rider Bike Time 1. Pol Espargaro Derbi 41m00.421s 2. Sandro Cortese Derbi + 0.394s 3. Bradley Smith Aprilia + 0.581s 4. Stefan Bradl Aprilia + 11.048s 5. Joan Olive Derbi + 16.830s 6. Sergio Gadea Aprilia + 17.170s 7. Esteve Rabat Aprilia + 17.300s 8. D.Agerter Derbi + 17.546s 9. Johann Zarco Aprilia + 17.666s10. R.Krummenacher Aprilia + 21.378s11. Takaaki Nakagami Aprilia + 26.312s12. Julian Simon Aprilia + 31.500s13. Lorenzo Zanetti Aprilia + 34.194s14. Jonas Folger Aprilia + 35.023s15. Luis Salom Aprilia + 54.243s16. Scott Redding Aprilia + 54.332s17. Jasper Iwema Honda +1m02.994s18. Alberto Moncayo Aprilia +1m03.054s19. Sturla Fagerhaug KTM +1m03.061s20. Johnny Rosell Aprilia +1m24.171s21. Jakub Jantulik Aprilia +1m37.379s22. Luca Vitali Aprilia +1m50.590s23. Quentin Jacquet Aprilia +1m50.852s24. Jordi Dalmau Honda + 1 lap25. Jakub Kornfeil Loncin + 1 lapNOT CLASSIFIED/RETIREMENTS: Rider Bike Laps Daniel Webb Aprilia 22 Michael Ranseder Aprilia 17 Luca Marconi Aprilia 13 Marc Marquez KTM 12 Simone Corsi Aprilia 9 Nicolas Terol Aprilia 8 Efren Vazquez Derbi 7 Cameron Beaubier KTM 4 Tomoyoshi Koyama Loncin 3 Andrea Iannone Aprilia 2 FASTEST LAP: Cortese, 1m45.722s on lap 11