Bradley Smith fifth, Marc Marquez dominant in Australia
Bradley Smith briefly led today’s Australian 125GP before he eventually had to settle for fifth in breezy conditions at the Phillip Island track.
The 23-lap race was once again a Spanish dominated affair, with in-form Marc Marquez romping to a ninth victory of 2010 as he claimed an impressive clean sweep of the flyaway triple header at Twin Ring Motegi, Sepang and Phillip Island.
Aspar Aprilia rider Smith made a superb start from fifth on the grid, the 19-year-old slotting in behind Marquez before attacking on the brakes at turn four on the first lap.
Smith’s spell at the front though lasted barely 60 seconds as Marquez surged by on the long start/finish straight to lead over the line at the end of the first lap.
It was a lead he never relinquished while Smith was powerless to keep himself in podium contention let alone harass Marquez for the win in round 15 of the world championship.
Pol Espargaro dropped Smith back to third on the second lap and he surrendered third spot on lap four when team-mate Nicolas Terol moved by.
Smith was unable to respond and quickly lost 0.5s to Terol before he was left to slug it out with Spanish duo Efren Vazquez and Esteve Rabat.
The Oxfordshire rider’s challenge nearly ended in disaster on lap six when he was nearly high-sided exiting turn four.
And moments later he was relegated from fourth to sixth as Vazquez and Rabat slipstreamed him down the home straight before moving by on the super-fast approach to Doohan Corner.
He grabbed fifth back from Vazquez on lap 14 but immediately ran wide in the braking zone at turn four to fall back into sixth and into the clutches of Tomoyoshi Koyama before the Japanese rider faded.
He moved back into fifth on lap 16 though with an overtake on Rabat and then reclaimed fourth position a lap later from Vazquez.
The battle intensified on lap 19 when Rabat retaliated to seize back fourth before Vazquez returned to the front of the group again at the beginning of lap 20.
But Smith produced a gutsy last lap, slipstreaming Vazquez to the finish line.
The timesheets showed both crossed the line with exactly the same time, but a photo finish declared Vazquez in fourth position by just 0.001s.
At the front of the field, the race was pretty much over as a contest once Marquez had passed Smith.
Marquez, who claimed a record 11th pole position yesterday, was easily able to move away from Espargaro and he cruised to a priceless win that increased his points lead in the championship to 12-points over Terol.
He did have one big scare though in the final stages when he touched Louis Rossi while lapping the French rider exiting the last corner in the closing stages.
Terol lost nine precious points as he lost a battle with Espargaro. Terol passed his compatriot on lap nine but by that stage Marquez was already well over three seconds clear.
Terol though was unable to break Espargaro’s resistance and he took second back exiting Doohan Corner on lap 17.
Espargaro was clearly quicker and it took him just one lap to open up a lead of close to a second. He eventually eased to second with Terol over five seconds back in the closing stages.
Danny Webb finished in a lonely tenth place while Danny Kent finished for the first time on the Lambretta machine, the 16-year-old securing 21st.