Spain`s Simon wins 125cc world title
Melbourne: Spaniard Julian Simon clinched the 125cc championship in style on Sunday, overtaking Britain`s Bradley Smith in the final lap to win the Australian Grand Prix.
Simon, who held a 50.5 point lead over nearest challenger and Bacanja Aspar team mate Smith in the championship standings, overcame a poor start to reel in the Briton under grey skies at the 4.45km Phillip Island circuit.
"I am really, really happy ... the last part I tried and I win," the mop-topped 22-year-old told reporters.
"Last year, here in Phillip Island, I signed a contract to come back to 125, so to win the championship is really happy."
The win capped off a brilliant return to the 125cc category for the Aprilia rider, who spent 2007-08 in the 250cc class without a single podium finish.
"This year is very funny for me. I have team who like a family. Good support from the sponsor ... This is the difference I think compared to last year," he added.
Simon`s final-lap overtake was a fitting end to a pulsating battle between the Spaniard and his 18-year-old rival, who swapped the lead several times after emerging mid-race from a combustible pack of riders.
Smith appeared to have the race won after wresting back the lead at the 17th lap, but the more seasoned Spaniard struck at a turn that the Briton later conceded had proved an Achilles` heel.
"I was expecting it, you know, probably at Honda hairpin," the Briton said.
"I wasn`t very strong there. I`ve had a crash over the weekend there and it was what ended my race last year, so I was just being cautious."
Simon now has 239 points, 55.5 points ahead of Smith with two rounds in Malaysia and Valencia, Spain remaining.
The victory was the Spaniard`s fifth in a season boasting 10 podium finishes from 14 starts.
Sandro Cortese of Germany took third place and fellow Derbi rider Pol Espargaro of Spain finished fourth after starting on pole.