Vinales wins but Terol clinches title with second

In a class that has been historically dominated by Spaniards it was very fitting that a Spaniard, Nico Terol, clinched the final 125cc championship in history while his 16 year old compatriot Maverick Vinales took the final race win of the venerable class. Terol came to Valencia with a commanding 20 point championship lead over Johann Zarco but when the Frenchman crashed on the third lap the championship was secured for Terol and he could simply enjoy the final 21 laps of the race. Throughout the weekend Terol looked nervous on the bike and in the paddock but once the title was secured the 23 year old settled down and started to slice through the field from ninth position to take the lead before half distance. The battle for the victory came down to a straight fight between Terol, Vinales and Hector Faubel. The trio of Spaniards put on a superb show and battled hard until the final stages of the race but with rain falling it was rookie rider Vinales who proved to be the bravest and the Blusens rider started to open a gap over his pursuers so that on the final lap he held a comfortable 2.5s lead over Terol, more than enough to cruise to the finish line for the fourth victory of his stunning debut season at the Grand Prix level. The day however belonged to Terol who started the season as the firm favourite to take the world title but with Zarco in fine form throughout 2011 and Vinales surprising everyone with the ease with which he adapted to racing at this level this was not as easy a championship success as Terol’s eventual 40 point victory margin would suggest. The Valencia native was forced to work hard to take his first title but it was very fitting that he finally took his first championship success in front of his home town crowd. Terol came into Grand Prix racing as a highly regarded Spanish champion but took some time to adapt to the highest level of racing but once he took his first victory, in the 2008 Indianapolis Grand Prix, Terol has hardly looked back. Last year he finished championship runner up to Marc Marquez, after ironically losing the title battle at the final race of the season in Valencia, but it will surely have made winning the title this year all the sweeter. Terol is still to confirm his plans for 2012 but it is expected that the final ever 125cc champion will remain in the smallest class and compete in the new Moto3 class next season with the number one plate as reigning world champion. He will once again fight with Vinales and Zarco for the championship but with new engine and chassis regulations coming into force there are many questions that will be asked over the course of the winter and a lot of work for this trio of riders to do to maintain their competitive advantage from this season over the likes of Sandro Cortese, Danny Kent, Louis Salom and any number of riders in the new class.

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