Julian Simon celebrated his 125cc title in perfect style by winning in front of his home fans in the season finale at Valencia. The Spaniard led home an Aspar Aprilia 1-2 ahead of Bradley Smith, who led until four laps from the end and put up an unsuccessful fight against his teammate on the final lap.
Smith, who briefly risked not taking part in the race when his Aprilia wouldn't start for the warm-up lap but eventually got going, shot off quicker than anyone else when the lights went out to lead from third on the grid. The Briton soon opened up a bit of a gap, but with Simon in second by the end of the first lap, the gap started to close, while the rest of the runners progressively saw the leading pair get farther and farther away.
By lap six of the 24-lap race, Pol Espargaro emerged as the quickest chaser of the leading duo, who were, however, already six seconds up the road. But the Derbi rider had just slotted into third and he began to open up a gap over the rest of the field. The gap became as wide as seven seconds on lap 20, but he was never a worry for the Aspar pair, who were more than 10 seconds ahead.
On that lap, Smith went wide at the exit of the final corner and was passed by Simon. The Spaniard managed to put some distance over the Briton, but the latter was able to close that gap on the penultimate lap to set up a fight on the last lap.
And a fight it was: Smith overtook Simon but went wide, allowing the new champion to re-take the lead. Then the Oxford-born rider managed to make a move stick, but the eventual winner made his successful overtaking maneuver a couple of corners later, and a last-gasp attack on the outside by Smith was to no avail.
The most exciting battle, however, was for fourth place, with around 10 riders exchanging positions for most of the race and six coming within 1.2sec of each other at the flag. Simone Corsi (Fontana Aprilia) won this fight for fourth, but it was the man in fifth who made the greatest impression. This was German wild-card entry Marcel Schrotter, who, in only his fourth world championship race with an old Toni Mang-entered Honda, fought tooth and nail against the more experienced riders and never put a foot wrong.
The Derbis of Joan Olive and Efren Vazquez finished sixth and seventh, followed by Sandro Cortese on the Ajo-entered Derbi. KTM's Marc Marquez was among the pack of riders running for fourth, but crashed after being hit by Olive on the last lap.
Pos Rider Bike Time/Gap
1. Julian Simon Aprilia 41m17.553s
2. Bradley Smith Aprilia + 0.220s
3. Pol Espargaro Derbi + 12.123s
4. Simone Corsi Aprilia + 17.577s
5. Marcel Schrotter Honda + 17.917s
6. Joan Olive Derbi + 18.334s
7. Efren Vazquez Derbi + 18.502s
8. Sandro Cortese Derbi + 18.553s
9. Randy Krummenacher Aprilia + 18.731s
10. Nicolas Terol Aprilia + 21.280s
11. Dominique Agerter Derbi + 23.635s
12. Lorenzo Zanetti Aprilia + 34.369s
13. Luis Salom Aprilia + 37.950s
14. Takaaki Nakagami Aprilia + 38.090s
15. Johann Zarco Aprilia + 40.043s
16. Sergio Gadea Aprilia + 44.478s
17. Marc Marquez KTM + 58.437s
18. Jasper Iwema Honda + 1m03.814s
19. Alberto Moncayo Aprilia + 1m08.362s
20. Tomoyoshi Koyama Loncin + 1m24.971s
21. Luca Marconi Aprilia + 1 lap
Cameron Beaubier KTM 23 laps
Luca Vitali Aprilia 21 laps
Jonas Folger Aprilia 17 laps
Ivan Maestro Aprilia 11 laps
Jakub Kornfeil Loncin 9 laps
Stefan Bradl Aprilia 8 laps
Lorenzo Savadori Aprilia 6 laps
Esteve Rabat Aprilia 5 laps
Scott Redding Aprilia 5 laps
Sturla Fagerhaug KTM 4 laps
Michael Ranseder Aprilia 3 laps
Andrea Iannone Aprilia 1 lap
Joan Perello Honda 0 laps
Danny Webb Aprilia 0 laps