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125: First Webb, Mahindra pole in final 125 race
5 November 2011
Danny Webb and Mahindra have taken their first 125GP pole position ahead of the category's very final race in Valencia after a stunning late charge saw him demolish his opposition.
A slippery session as the damp air and cool temperatures prevented the circuit from ever reaching optimum conditions, Webb's run to the front came after an enjoyable session that built in momentum until a heart-stopping final few minutes.
Indeed, having barely featured throughout the session, Webb's leap to the front was unexpected, the Briton catapulting himself from a position outside the top twenty in the final five minutes to hold down the provisional top spot. Though improving conditions threatened to dislodge the Briton, two more quick laps would see him emerge half a second up on Louis Rossi and more than two seconds ahead of third place Johann Zarco.
A magnificent boost for 125 newcomers Mahindra, the Indian manufacturer having only cracked the top ten in qualifying once this season, it is also a breakthrough moment for 20-year-old Webb.
In the battle for the title, Nico Terol – who is 20 points up on Zarco – starts down in ninth, compared to his adversary's third, though the Frenchman must win and hope his rival doesn't finish if hopes to snatch the title from Terol.
Luis Salom starts in fourth place, ahead of KTM rider Alexis Masbou, while Hector Faubel, Sandro Cortese and Maverick Vinales fill positions six to eight.
Sunday's race will be the last ever for the 125cc class, which is to be replaced by Moto3 (250cc four-strokes) next season The 125cc World Championship is the last remaining class from the inaugural 1949 motorcycle grand prix season.
1. Webb (Mahindra)
2. Rossi (Aprilia) +0.427s
3. Zarco (Derbi) +2.130s
4. Salom (Aprilia) +2.366s
5. Masbou (KTM) +2.385s
6. Faubel (Aprilia) +2.390s
7. Cortese (Aprilia) +2.833s
8. Vinales (Aprilia) +2.858s
9. Terol (Aprilia) +3.022s
10. Folger (Aprilia) +3.540s
18. Kent (Aprilia) +4.484s
26. Mackenzie (Aprilia) +6.801s
29. Stafford (Aprilia) +7.472s
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