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Another Win For Reigning 125cc World Champion Thomas Luthi


Reigning 125cc World Champion Thomas Luthi (Elit Grand Prix Honda RS125R) won his first 125cc Grand Prix of the 2006 season with a somewhat fortunate victory over Aprilia rider Alvaro Bautista, who slowed with machine trouble on the last lap while leading. He eventually finished fourth behind Mika Kallio (KTM) second and Fabrizio Lai (Seedorf Racing Honda RS125R) third.
In tricky damp conditions after morning rain, pole man Mattia Pasini (Aprilia) crashed out at the end of the first lap at the final turn followed closely by front row starter Lukas Pesek (Derbi) who crashed out on lap three. This left a four-man group at the front comprising Kallio, Luthi, Lai and Bautista – the race was theirs to dispute.

Luthi led for much of this 24-lap encounter setting a fastest lap on his 14th tour of the track and this was also the lap when Lai ran wide at the Garage Vert turn to drop back by four seconds from the leading trio. Lai had opted for cut slicks in the damp conditions and as the race worn on, these proved not to be the best option.

Kallio had also fitted cut slicks and dropped back in the closing stages to leave Bautista and Luthi to slug it out on the last lap. But when Bautista’s machine slowed the race was Luthi’s.

“I’m very happy to be back on the podium with a win,” said Luthi. “The track was wet in places and that was hard because we chose slicks and it took a while for me to catch the front group as the track dried. I had a plan for the last lap but when Alvaro’s bike stopped I didn’t have to use it.”

Lai said, “My start to the season hasn’t been as good as last year and it’s taken me five races to get on the podium. Conditions were hard and my tyre choice wasn’t the best as the track dried. I’d like to dedicate this win to my team because they’ve worked really hard to get me back on the podium.”

The World Championship points table shows Bautista ahead with 99 points, Kallio second on 76 and Hector Faubel (Aprilia) third overall with 56.

Thomas Luthi, Elit Honda, 1st:

"On the starting grid we saw that there were still some damp patches on the track surface but it was very warm so we went with slick tyres. I took a lot of risks in the opening laps and had some big slides. When the track started to dry I went to the front and opened a gap on the group. Towards the end Alvaro (Bautista) caught me but following him I knew I had a good plan to pass him on the last lap. But his bike stopped and it was easy for me to take the win. It's fantastic to be back at the top of the podium and for this I have to thank my team for all the hard work they have done for me to make this possible."

Fabrizio Lai, Seedorf Racing World, 3rd:

"I want to dedicate this race to my team who have worked so hard for me all these months, and to all those who have believed in me. I think I could have finished better but I made a mistake and lost contact with the leaders. I chose an intermediate tyre for he conditions and pushed really hard on braking to stay with the leader but that's why I made the mistake - I pushed too hard at one point but I am happy with the result."

Sandro Cortese, Elit Honda, 15th:

"I got the perfect start to the race from 17th place on the grid to seventh at the chicane. Everything ran really well for he first three laps then my engine would not rev in top gear at the end of the straight. I fought hard to stay in the group by braking very hard but I had to let them go. It was a pity after such a fantastic start."

Gabor Talmacsi, Humangest Honda,17th:

"After three laps I started losing confidence with the bike and the temperatures of the water started to get higher. I was afraid the engine would break and so I slowed down. Actually, after the practice sessions I thought I could score important points, but I didn’t get any”.

Lorenzo Baroni, Humangest Honda, 19th:

“Still I don’t believe I did such a good race. I made a bad start and many riders crashed in front of me at turn 1. Luckily, I was able to avoid them and not lose time from the group. I pushed as much as I could, the slick tyres choice was correct and so I could take full advantage of the potential of the bike. I deserved a race like this. I lapped with a good rhythm and this is positive also for next race at Mugello”.

Bradley Smith, Repsol Honda, 21st:

“The first few laps it seemed that I had improved a little bit but not much; I was in a group of three. I was caught behind a rider and then they opened a gap but I couldn’t catch the gap back. I made a few mistakes, got passed by Hernandez and then I passed him back and then he passed me back again and then I finally made an aggressive pass and managed to break away and catch the group in front. When I arrived to the group I wasn’t aggressive enough, I couldn’t pass and ended up back in twentieth. Then, on the final lap I was pushing to Paveroni but ran over the kerb and got the wrong side of the kerb. Imre Toth passed me and from then on I was trying to pass him but it was never enough and I ended up twenty-first. Maybe or definitely a different approach is needed for Italy, which is the next round.”

Joey Litjens, Molenaar Honda, 24th:

"The opening laps were really good. It was a great feeling to race in the points scoring positions on the damp track. As the race went on and the track dried I had a little difficulty to up my tempo. But on the closing laps I was faster even though I was sliding a lot with the rear tyre. I am very pleased with my race today."

Mike Di Meglio, FFM Honda, 27th:

“This morning, during the warm up, the track was wet and we could confirm the settings of the bike that suited me well. Unfortunately I crashed but, without damage, and realized the pole position of the warm up.. The track was different for the race; it was drying and I didn’t feel comfortable with the tyres. At the start I couldn’t catch the right group because there was only one dry path but then I pushed hard until the 6th place and after 6 laps I lost the front at the beginning of the “Dunlop chicane”. I could restart and finally I finished in 27th position. I’m a bit disappointed because the bike was very good but with the technical staff we keep on working and I will get my revenge in Italy.”

Aleix Espargaro, Wurth Honda BQR:

Aleix Espargaro did not race due to injuries sustained in race practice.

Michele Conti, Seedorf Racing World: dnf – crash:

"This bike lets you start very fast and it did today. I was about ninth at the first corner and this made me forget my bad qualifying. But I'm really disappointed now because Masbou made a mistake under braking and hit me and I crashed out."

MotoGP 125cc World Championship Grand Prix Round 05:

1 Thomas Luthi / Honda 2 Mika Kallio / Ktm 3 Fabrizio Lai / Honda 4 Alvaro Bautista / Aprilia 5 Pablo Nieto / Aprilia 6 Raffaele De Rosa / Aprilia 7 Joan Olive / Aprilia 8 Sergio Gadea / Aprilia 9 Andrea Iannone / Aprilia 10 Simone Corsi / Gilera 11 Angel Rodriguez / Aprilia 12 Julian Simon / Ktm 13 Tomoyoshi Koyama / Malaguti 14 Hector Faubel / Aprilia 15 Sandro Cortese / Honda Related Links www.world.honda.com
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