Bradley Smith claimed a somewhat fortuitous fourth place in today’s Spanish 125GP as home favourite Pol Espargaro claimed a late victory.
Smith benefited from a series of mistakes and misfortune in front of him to finish in a fourth place like that had looked unlikely as he rode in a lonely sixth place for much of the 23-lap encounter at a sunny but breezy Jerez.
The Aspar Aprilia rider finished 1.930s away from a first podium finish of 2010 but he ended with 13 precious points as his struggles continued.
The British teenager, who claimed victory in Jerez 12 months ago, never looked like repeating that achievement as he failed to latch onto the back of an early breakaway group of five riders.
Pol Espargaro, Efren Vazquez, Nicolas Terol, Esteve Rabat and Sandro Cortese surged away at the front.
Vazquez’s hopes of a maiden victory though were dashed on lap 19 when he lost the front at the Curva Angel Nieto. He immediately entered the pits with his Derbi too badly damaged to continue.
Cortese too had dropped out of contention by that point, though his was through a technical problem rather than a rash mistake.
The German looked ominous in fourth on lap 15 when he suddenly lost three seconds. His lap times continued to slow and he eventually finished in 11th position but over a minute off the lead.
Espargaro eventually took the spoils from Spanish rival Terol in an exciting race. The pair had locked horns throughout the race but when it was left between the two of them to fight it out for victory, Espargaro prevailed with a decisive late attack.
He made his move on lap 21 when he opened up a gap of close to 0.4s on Terol, who was looking for his second successive victory of the season after a win in the opening race in Qatar.
Terol had no answer and he eventually settled for second, finishing 1.886s behind Espargaro, though he retained the series lead by seven-points.
Rabat’s hopes of a podium looked over as he dropped back to fifth on lap ten. He was unable to match the pace of the leading group but was able to take advantage of Vazquez’s crash and Cortese’s bad luck to claim only his second career podium.
British teenager Danny Webb looked on course for a brilliant top ten finish as he starred in an exciting six-rider scrap for sixth.
Webb had fought his way through from 11th to eighth place but he suffered a big high-side exiting the Curva Michelin on the penultimate lap. The Kent rider luckily walked away from the incident at the same corner which ended Australian Mick Doohan’s career in 1999.
The pole position jinx continued for home favourite Marc Marquez. He had qualified in top spot for the fourth time but as yet he has been unable to convert that into a maiden victory.
His hopes of ending that streak were over on the first lap today when he suffered a spectacular high-side crash while lying in fourth place.
The Derbi rider walked away unscathed from the fast crash at the Curva Ferrari.
1 Pol ESPARGARO SPA Tuenti Racing Derbi 41'36.146
2 Nicolas TEROL SPA Bancaja Aspar Team Aprilia +1.886
3 Esteve RABAT SPA Blusens-STX Aprilia +15.180
4 Bradley SMITH GBR Bancaja Aspar Team Aprilia +17.110
5 Tomoyoshi KOYAMA JPN Racing Team Germany Aprilia +25.069
6 Alberto MONCAYO SPA Andalucia Cajasol Aprilia +26.860
7 Johann ZARCO FRA WTR San Marino Team Aprilia +27.102
8 Randy KRUMMENACHER SWI Stipa-Molenaar Racing GP Aprilia +28.465
9 Alexis MASBOU FRA Ongetta Team Aprilia +28.963
10 Jasper IWEMA NED CBC Corse Aprilia +58.830
11 Sandro CORTESE GER Avant Mitsubishi Ajo Derbi +1'03.035
12 Marcel SCHROTTER GER Interwetten Honda 125 Honda +1'04.722
13 Adrian MARTIN SPA Aeroport de Castello - Ajo Aprilia +1'04.841
14 Jakub KORNFEIL CZE Racing Team Germany Aprilia +1'05.248
15 Luis SALOM SPA Lambretta Reparto Corse Lambretta +1'09.300
16 Isaac VIÑALES SPA Catalunya Racing Team Aprilia +1'09.540
17 Luca MARCONI ITA Ongetta Team Aprilia +1'34.926
18 Joan PERELLO SPA SAG Castrol Honda +1'42.695
19 Johnny ROSELL SPA SAG Castrol Honda +1'51.484
20 Zulfahmi KHAIRUDDIN MAL AirAsia Aprilia +1'51.525