Marc Marquez became the second youngest rider in history to win a world title in Valencia today when he was crowned 125GP champion in front of a jubilant home crowd.
And there was final round joy for British rider Bradley Smith who ended his five-year stint in the 125GP class with a brilliant start-to-finish victory before he moves to the Moto2 class in 2011.
Spaniard Marquez has been the outstanding rider of 2010 and he clinched the title with a safe ride to fourth position having started from pole position for the 12th time. His latest pole equalled the record number set by Aussie legend Mick Doohan in the 500cc class back in 1997.
Starting the 24-lap race with a commanding 17-point lead over Aspar Aprilia rival Nicolas Terol, Marquez rode a mature and clever race, avoiding trouble at all costs to ensure he didn’t blow his big chance to join Jorge Lorenzo and Toni Elias as Spanish world champions.
With British rider Bradley Smith grabbing the holeshot and leading from the front in the early exchanges, Marquez was content to sit in third position with closest rival Terol right in front of him.
Marquez began to pick up his pace on the fifth lap to close down on Terol and by lap ten he was piling pressure on his compatriot. With Terol only second, Marquez needed to finish in only 13th place and he continued to mercilessly stalk his rival, though by lap 14 Pol Espargaro had joined the battle for the podium.
Aware of the threat posed by Espargaro, Marquez clearly was on no mood to take any risks and he waved his fellow Spaniard through approaching the second corner on lap 16 to drop out of podium contention. He was content to finish in a comfortable fourth to spark wild celebrations in the grandstands.
Smith’s final race in the 125GP was also a memorable one as he claimed his third career win and first since he was victorious in the 2009 Italian Grand Prix in Mugello.
He was unchallenged at the front for the majority of the race and he made a decisive break on lap 11 when he opened up a lead of over a second for the first time.
Team-mate Terol couldn’t exert any pressure and by lap 17, Smith had established a comfortable lead of over two seconds for the first time. Terol couldn’t even hang onto second as Espargaro swept by on the penultimate lap to claim second for the fifth time in 2010.
It was little consolation for Terol but his third gave him a 14th rostrum of the season to equal the record number of podium finishes set by Alvaro Bautista.
Smith eventually won by 2.7s seconds to give himself a massive confidence boost ahead of his Moto2 debut with the Tech 3 Racing squad tomorrow (Monday).
Today’s race was the fourth time since 2002 that the 125GP title has been decided in the final round.
1 SMITH B. Bancaja Aspar TeamLap 24
2 ESPARGARO P. Tuenti Racing+2.786
3 TEROL N. Bancaja Aspar Team+3.149
4 MARQUEZ M. Red Bull Ajo Motorsport+8.326
5 CORTESE S. Avant Mitsubishi Ajo+24.375
6 RABAT E. Blusens-STX+26.743
7 KOYAMA T. Racing Team Germany+26.823
8 VAZQUEZ E. Tuenti Racing+27.634
9 KRUMMENACHER R. Stipa-Molenaar Racing GP+41.211
10 SALOM L. Stipa-Molenaar Racing GP+41.279
11 MONCAYO A. Andalucia Cajasol+1:02.540
12 SCHROTTER M. Interwetten Honda 125+1:02.999