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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.

Bureau Report

From Zee News

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