Mika Kallio and Hiroshi Aoyama have made it a KTM one-two in the 250GP in China.
The rain, which hampered the 125 race still had its victims as several riders, including early race leader and pole man Alvaro Bautista crashed, but the KTM pair stayed focussed and managed to conserve their tyres enough to keep the advantage and extend Kallio’s championship lead.
It looked like it would be the first time for more than a year that there was no Aprilia on the podium until a last lap incident saw Yukio Takahashi’s Honda suffer problems to let Mattia Pasini through for the final spot.
And Ireland’s Eugene Laverty recorded his best result of his 250GP career as he finished in the points in 13th.
Thomas Luthi got a dreadful start and was practically left on the grid, but it was Hector Barbera who was away fastest and took the lead into the first corner ahead of Marco Simoncelli.
And Simoncelli used his power advantage on the back straight to take the lead, but Barbera had taken the advantage once again by the end of the lap.
Karel Abraham, Alex Baldolini and Manuel Poggiali all crashed on the first lap. Abraham and Baldolini did manage to get going again but Abraham later retired to the pits
Hector Barbera found his pace by lap three and moved up into third place, while Ireland’s Eugene Laverty had got into 16th.
Lucas Pesek was next to retire from the race on lap three with mechanical problems.
Marco Simoncelli lost his second place on lap four to Bautista, who also set the fastest lap on this circuit on his Aprilia.
With the Shanghai track drying in parts it was a case of looking after the rubber so the riders were having to move onto the wetter line in order to preserve their tyres.
Julian Simon ran wide while Thomas Luthi and Alex Debon crashed on lap six.
Alex Debon rejoin the race, while Mika Kallio took the final podium spot on his KTM later in the lap. And the next person in the Finish rider’s sights was Barbera as Kallio dived into second.
Leader Alvaro Bautista crashed out of the race on lap nine as he lost the front end of his Aprilia and sprinted through the gravel trap to try and get it going. He did retake to the track in down in 15th. Up front this left Kallio in the lead with Barbera second while Aoyama moved up to third.
But Kallio’s team-mate, Aoyama, now on a charge was up to second by the end of lap nine.
Ireland’s Eugene Laverty had former leader Bautista chasing down on his 12th position, while back up front Barbera found himself in fourth as Simoncelli took his third place.
Laverty was making good progress and took Roberto Locatelli on lap 12 to go 11th, while Yukio Takahashi had taken third place at the head of the pack. Barbera meanwhile had fallen down the field and was sixth by lap 15.
Takahashi took almost two seconds off the two riders ahead of him and was set to catch the KTM pairing of Kallio and Aoyama fast. And Aoyama was next on a charge as he went under 2:16.8 but Kallio took the challenge and then also fell within the 2min 17secs barrier on lap 17.
The Kallio recorded a 2:15.890 to take the fastest lap on lap 18 and with it had pulled ahead by more than 2.5secs. But this was soon beaten as he went quicker with a 2:15.3 on the following lap.
Blusens Aprilia’s Laverty lost his 11th place back to Locatelli, although he was still set for his highest place finish of his 250GP career. And although Laverty just lost 12th to Bautista, he still managed a best placed finish in 13th.
But the day was Mike Kallio’s as the KTM rider finished 3.2secs ahead of team-mate Aoyama.
A last lap problem for Takahashi saw him lose third place to Aprilia’s Mattia Pasini.
China MotoGP 250 race results:
1 Mika Kallio FIN Red Bull KTM
2 Hiroshi Aoyama JPN Red Bull KTM
3 Mattia Pasini ITA Polaris World Aprilia
4 Marco Simoncelli ITA ITA Metis Gilera
5 Alex Debon SPA Lotus Aprilia
6 Hector Barbera SPA Team Toth Aprilia
7 Yukio Takahashi JPN JiR Team Scot 250
8 Ratthapark Wilairot THA Thai Honda PTT SAG
9 Aleix Espargaro SPA Lotus Aprilia
10 Hector Faubel SPA Mapfre Aspar Team
11 Roberto Locatelli ITA Metis Gilera
12 Alvaro Bautista SPA Mapfre Aspar Team
13 Eugene Laverty IRL Blusens APrilia
14 Fabrizio Lai ITA Campetella Racing
15 Doni Pradita INA Yamaha Pertamina Indonesia
16 Imre Tothi HUN Team Toth Aprilia
17 Russel Gomez SPA Blusens Aprilia