Motorcycling: Smith battles to seventh

Britain's Bradley Smith bounced back from a practice-session crash to finish seventh in the Nickel & Dime British 125cc Grand Prix at Donington Park.

Britain's Bradley Smith bounced back from a practice-session crash to finish seventh in the Nickel & Dime British 125cc Grand Prix at Donington Park.

The teenager was fortunate to walk away from a spectacular high-side crash at Coppice Corner during Saturday's final qualifying session at the Leicestershire parkland circuit.

But after being forced to settle for a third-row ninth position on the grid, the 16-year-old from Oxford came home in a creditable seventh after a last-lap overtaking manoeuvre left Raffaele de Rosa in his wake.

Smith's nine-point haul left the factory-backed Repsol Honda rider eighth in the championship rankings, but level on points with Joan Olive.

British wildcarder Luke Jones was 22nd and Danny Webb 25th ahead of other domestic wildcard riders Nikki Coates and Robbie Stewart - who were 27th and 28th respectively - and Tom Hayward in 30th. Kev Coughlan failed to finish.

The race was won by Mattia Pasini with Tomoyoshi Koyama second and Hector Faubel third, while championship leader Gabor Talmacsi had to retire with mechanical problems meaning his lead at the top of the standings was cut to three.

Meanwhile, Ducati Marlboro rider Casey Stoner consolidated his advantage at the top of the MotoGP standings with victory over Fiat Yamaha's Colin Edwards and Rizla Suzuki's Chris Vermeulen in third.

The Australian had started fifth on the grid but powered through the field to claim a second successive victory - and his fifth in eight rounds to date - following his win in Catalunya a fortnight ago.

Stoner was home 11.768 seconds clear of Edwards with victory propelling him 26 points clear of nearest rival Valentino Rossi.

And the 21-year-old, whose circuit racing career had begun at Donington, said: "I qualified fifth and thought I had got a great start because I had a perfect clutch release. But then I must have run over a white line I think because people just came flying past me, although I still arrived at the first corner in a reasonable position.

"Colin seemed to be taking it nice and smooth and I knew I could go faster than him, but the worry was about how much I would be destroying my rear tyre. I started to ride as much as I could on the wet parts of the track but with five laps to go, the tyre was not feeling too bad and even at the end it was still not too bad."

In 250cc action, Andrea Dovisioso took the chequered flag with Alex de Angelis second and Hiroshi Aoyama third.

Britain's Dan Linfoot, making his first appearance of the season, was ninth and Toby Markham 17th, although Ireland's Eugene Laverty went out on the sixth of 27 laps.

Reigning champion Jorge Lorenzo also came to grief but maintained his position at the top of the current ranking - which he leads by 11 points from Dovisioso.


David Whetstone
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