Bradley Smith has taken his first grand prix victory by a mighty 13.524 seconds in Sunday's 125cc Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez.
The Englishman, competing in his 50th grand prix but only his third for the Aspar Aprilia team, charged into a confident lead from second on the grid while team-mate and pole sitter Julian Simon battled back from a poor start.
Simon reached second on lap two and began nibbling away at Smith's 1.8sec lead, but the Spaniard suffered a huge accident on lap six - leaving Smith with a near ten second advantage over second position.
columnist kept up a relentless pace thereafter, holding a distant 15 second lead by the halfway stage of the 23 laps. Smith's lead peaked at a staggering 20.270secs, before backing off - after a small scare - to claim a crushing 13.5sec victory in the Aspar team's home race.
2009 is Smith's fourth season in grand prix racing. The 18-year-old had finished second on three occasions, from five prior podiums and he celebrated by punching the air with delight and then carrying a union jack around on his slowdown lap as he received a deafening applause from the fan-packed hillsides.
“It's so difficult to explain how I feel at this moment,” beamed Smith. “You try to picture your first win, but this is nothing like I thought it would be! It's been a long time coming, unfortunately, but I'm glad I've waited and worked hard.
“Today the bike was just awesome, especially at the beginning - that was why I won the race. From the beginning I was able to do low 1min 47s and pull away from everybody else.
“Unfortunately, with about eight laps to go, I had a problem with fifth gear on my bike and I nearly crashed. But I managed to save it and work around the problem. All credit to Team Aspar for believing in me and after two difficult races we're on top, hopefully where we belong.”
Smith, who began the event just seventh in the championship after finishing fifth and tenth in the first two rounds of the season, is now up to second in the standings, just one point from the lead.