An emotional Serio Gadea won his first 125GP race at the opening round of the season under the Qatar floodlights after a tough battle which saw reigning champion lose a clear lead with mechanical problems.
And British rookie Scott Redding put in a stunning performance on his Blusens Aprilia, which almost saw him make the perfect start to his world championship career with a podium finish.
Redding, just 15, who had never even been in a 125 GP race as a wild card looked like a seasoned pro as he battled with the likes of 2007 champion Gabor Talmacsi, Joan Olive and Sergio Gadea up front and finished am amazing fifth after the 18 lap race.
Pole sitter Bradley Smith lead into first corner, with Danny Webb sixth and Scott Redding in eighth.
The first casualty of the race was Estove Rabat on his KTM on lap one as he took a trip to the gravel trap, but he did manage to get going again.
At the beginning of lap two Smith was being challenged by KTM rider Raffaele de Rosa.
On lap two Bradley Smith seemed to have problems. The Oxfordshire teeneager had mechanical issues with his Aprilia in warm-up this afternoon and obviously had a problem which allowed seven riders, including Danny Webb to go through.
This left current champion Gabor Talmacsi to lead the race.
On lap three with Smith still losing places, Redding had passed his fellow Brit and was now ninth while Danny Webb was on a charge up front in fifth.
Talmacsi continued to lead the race on lap four and had built up slight lead from now second placed de Rosa.
Webb was passed by Sergio Gadea on lap four to put him in sixth with fellow Aprilia rider Scott Redding right behind him. Smith was lying 12th.
Joan Olive put his KTM up to second on lap five as he passed di Meglio and de Rosa. And on his charge he then put himself ahead of Bancaja Aspar’s Gabor Talmacsi to take the lead at the beginning of lap six.
The British duo of Danny Webb and Scott Redding were the only two riders to complete laps under 2mins 6secs on lap six.
Steve Bonsey was another casualty on lap seven, crashing out of the race.
The fight for the lead was on with Talmacsi, Olive, de Rosa, Gadea, di Meglio, Web and Redding all bunched together. Redding posted the race lap of the race so far on lap seven with a 2:05.695.
And Webb’s slipstream in the race paid off on lap eight as he passed di Meglio for fifth place.
Meanwhile Bradley Smith’s bad day continued as he had slipped down to 16th.
Sergio Gadea was the leader going over the line for the start of lap nine with Talmacsi behind him.
On lap nine Scott Redding had got himself up to sixth place to sit once again behind fellow British teenager Danny Webb ready to start the battle of the Brits.
By the end of lap nine Talmacsi had retaken the lead from Gadea with neither rider giving up on the possibility of the first win of the season.
Lap 10 also saw 15-year-old Scott Redding become the leading Brit as he passed Webb for fifth.
And the Gloucestershire youngster was not set there as one of the most experienced rider on a 125, Joan Olive, was in his sights. And on lap 12 he passed the Spaniard up the inside in the slimmest of margins.
Danny Webb was dropping off the pace in seventh while Bradley Smith was in 18th.
The bravery of Scott Redding was not done with his amazing pass on Olive as he shot past de Rosa to put himself into third for an almost unthinkable podium spot now looking possible.
But Sergio Gadea managed to pass the rookie going down the start / finish straight to begin lap 14 and with less than a second between the top six anything was still possible on lap 14.
Redding had slipped down to sixth at the beginning of lap 15. But reigning 125 champion Gabor Talmacsi’s Aprilia suffered mechanical problems which saw him drop down the field fast.
Di Meglio took the lead before Gadea fought his way through to the top and with three laps to go Danny Webb was in seventh.
De Rosa crashed out of the race on lap 16 almost taking di Meglio with him and this put Redding back in to contention benefiting to take third place.
The experienced Olive passed Redding with two laps to go but as he was concentrating on di Meglio ahead of him, Scott Redding was still keeping in touch with the pair.
Gadea, obviously in pain after the race following a heavy testing crash, took the win with Joan Olive behind him. And a charging Stefan Bradl grabbed the final podium spot - his first - on his Aprilia as he slipstreamed the start / finish straight to leave Scott Redding fifth.
Danny Webb held on to take his best 125 finish in sixth, while Bradley Smith managed to keep his Polaris World Aprilia going to take 16th, just one place out of the points.
Qatar MotoGP 125 race results:
1 Sergio GADEA SPA Bancaja Aspar Team APRILIA 38'09.444
2 Joan OLIVE SPA Belson Derbi DERBI 38'10.376
3 Stefan BRADL GER Grizzly Gas Kiefer Racing APRILIA 38'11.104
4 Mike DI MEGLIO FRA Ajo Motorsport DERBI 38'11.215
5 Scott REDDING GBR Blusens Aprilia Junior APRILIA 38'11.263
6 Danny WEBB GBR Degraaf Grand Prix APRILIA 38'17.133
7 Simone CORSI ITA Jack & Jones WRB APRILIA 38'18.128
8 Pol ESPARGARO SPA Belson Derbi DERBI 38'18.137
9 Efren VAZQUEZ SPA Blusens Aprilia Junior APRILIA 38'18.498
10 Nicolas TEROL SPA Jack & Jones WRB APRILIA 38'20.346
11 Sandro CORTESE GER Emmi - Caffe Latte APRILIA 38'20.389
12 Gabor TALMACSI HUN Bancaja Aspar Team APRILIA 38'22.062
13 Stefano BIANCO ITA S3+ WTR San Marino Team APRILIA 38'22.153
14 Andrea IANNONE ITA I.C. Team APRILIA 38'29.530
15 Michael RANSEDER AUT I.C. Team APRILIA 38'33.019
16 Bradley SMITH GBR Polaris World APRILIA 38'33.334
17 Dominique AEGERTER SWI Ajo Motorsport DERBI 38'38.850
18 Pablo NIETO SPA Onde 2000 KTM KTM 38'42.335
19 Takaaki NAKAGAMI JPN I.C. Team APRILIA 38'42.790
20 Pere TUTUSAUS SPA Bancaja Aspar Team APRILIA 38'43.093
21 Lorenzo ZANETTI ITA ISPA KTM Aran KTM 38'46.140
22 Randy KRUMMENACHE SWI Red Bull KTM 125 KTM 38'46.198
23 Robin LASSER GER Grizzly Gas Kiefer Racing APRILIA 38'54.761
24 Esteve RABAT SPA Repsol KTM 125cc KTM 39'05.884
25 Louis ROSSI FRA FFM Honda GP 125 HONDA 39'23.946
Raffaele DE ROSA ITA Onde 2000 KTM KTM 31'48.628 (3 laps)
Dino LOMBARDI ITA BQR Blusens APRILIA 24'49.308 (7 laps)
Hugo VAN DEN BERG NED Degraaf Grand Prix APRILIA 22'20.384 (8 laps)
Tomoyoshi KOYAMA JPN ISPA KTM Aran KTM 17'13.628 (10 laps)
Stevie BONSEY USA Degraaf Grand Prix APRILIA 10'53.505 (13 laps)
Jules CLUZEL FRA Loncin Racing LONCIN 8'48.338 (14 laps)
Alexis MASBOU FRA Loncin Racing LONCIN 2'18.590 (17 laps)
Roberto LACALENDOLA ITA Matteoni Racing APRILIA 2'21.214 (17 laps)
Not finished first lap
Robert MURESAN ROU Grizzly Gas Kiefer Racing APRILIA