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125: Talmacsi wins five-lap Assen race
28 June 2008
Gabor Talmacsi has won his first race as a reigning world champion with victory during a five-lap 125cc Dutch TT at Assen, after rain halted the original race and forced a restart.
Second on the grid Bradley Smith shot into the lead during the first start and had built a commanding 3.6secs advantage by lap seven of 22, when Nicolas Terol took second position from Joan Olive.
But rain spots began appearing soon after and a tipping point, in terms of grip, was reached on lap 10 when Smith highsided out of the lead and was left punching the gravel with frustration.
However, unknown to Smith, other riders had fallen at around the same time and the red flags were promptly waved - handing the now limping young Briton, plus most of the other fallers (those with a spare bike available) a second chance.
A five lap race, starting in the order present by the start of the last full lap, would therefore decide the 2008 125cc Dutch TT.
The rain spots had stopped by the restart, meaning slicks were once again fitted, but having now had the option to change tyres, this race would not be stopped whatever the weather.
When the red lights went out Smith initially got away well, but had been shuffled backwards to seventh by the end of a hectic first lap as Olive led the way.
Talmacsi was soon working his way forwards and took second position at the start of lap three, but it was Esteve Rabat who finally overtook Olive for the lead – the Repsol KTM rider slipstreaming past three riders along the back straight with half a lap to go.
The Spaniard then stumbled, and was mercilessly swallowed by the pack, but any one of six riders could have claimed victory heading into the final chicane.
Talmacsi manoeuvred his Aspar Aprilia into the lead heading into the braking zone, then kept steady despite pressure from all sides to snatch victory by just 0.128secs from Olive.
Title contenders Simone Corsi and Mike di Meglio had plummeted down the order from pole and fourth on the grid respectively during the original start - and were only ranked ninth (Corsi) and twelfth (di Meglio) by the time it was stopped.
But Corsi turned things around with third place in the restart, while di Meglio could only manage seventh.
Meanwhile, Smith fought back from a poor first lap to be in contention for a podium at the final turn, but was forced to settle for fifth at the flag, just behind Sandro Cortese.
In the world championship standings, di Meglio now holds a 16-point advantage over Corsi after round nine of 17 (the 125 and 250cc class don't race at Laguna Seca).
British Grand Prix winner Scott Redding, who had qualified sixth on the original grid, didn't take the restart.
Dutch TT - Assen:
1. Talmacsi (Aprilia)
2. Olive (Derbi) +0.128secs
3. Corsi (Aprilia) +0.255secs
4. Cortese (Aprilia) +0.340secs
5. Smith (Aprilia) +0.425secs
6. Rabat (Honda) +0.568secs
7. di Meglio (Derbi) +0.846secs
8. Iannone (Aprilia) +0.928secs
9. Terol (Aprilia) +1.438secs
10. de Rosa (KTM) +2.554secs
Redding (Aprilia) DNF
Webb (Aprilia) DNS
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