Daniel Ruiz won his home race from Danny Kent and Daijiro Hiura. 16 laps of edge-of-the-seat action with up to 8 men fighting for the lead. The 18 year old Spaniard was squeezed either side by Hiura and Kent into the last hairpin corner but fought them off to take his first Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup victory.
“It’s a dream come true,” said Ruiz. “To win at my home Grand Prix is just incredible. When I got in front early on in the race I thought I should try and get away but it just wasn’t possible. When Daijiro came past I followed him a bit and changed my plan. I knew it would come down to a last lap battle. I got in front again on the last lap but even at the last corner I had Daijiro up the inside and Danny outside, I just had to keep going and get on the gas as soon as I could.”
Hiura, the 15 year old Japanese, had the frustration of 3rd after 2nd on Saturday. “I tried to get away but again it was not possible. We were all together on the last lap and I thought I could win. Then at the end of the back straight Kent and I went wide and Dani Ruiz got ahead, that’s where I lost the race today.”
Fourth man home was 17 year old South African Mathew Scholtz and he was a lot happier than he had been on Saturday, “That was a much better race, cleaner and faster, a lot more fun. The front guys had got away a bit but towards the end I really got my rhythm together and closed back up to them. Going onto the last lap I thought I was in a good position but just at the last corner it all got too tight and the best I could do was to chase them across the line. I am happy with that though and we go to Mugello next. That’s a track that I love so I hope I can get on the podium.”
Scholtz out-dragged Harry Stafford to take that 4th place but the 16 year old Briton had a brilliant race. He pulled a chasing pack of 5 through to join Ruiz, Hiura and Kent to make it an 8 man lead battle that also included Jake Gagne, Niccolo Antonelli and Florian Alt. Stafford was the fastest man on the track as he charged through and had pace enough to take the lead. “It was great fun, I loved catching those guys it was a great feeling and I thought I might win it. Then we also started passing and re-passing each other and I couldn’t get clear. It was still a great race and I can’t wait for Mugello.”
It was another fine ride from Jake Gagne but the 16 year old Californian was not happy with 6th. “Not really, it was OK, I got some points but it’s not where I want to be, I just didn’t really have it together here. At least we are a bit closer on bike setting going to the next race and Mugello doesn’t have the same slow corners so it should be better anyway. I want to go much better there.”
Niccolo Antonelli, the 14 year old Italian in his 2nd Rookies race was a superb 7th and had thoughts of even better. “I had a great race, a lot of fun. I was going to try for the podium but braking into the last corner Scholtz was inside and I got pushed wide so couldn’t make it. I’ll try again in Mugello.” Josh Hook’s 8th was impressive, coming as he did from 20th on the grid. “That wasn’t too bad, I am happy with the way the weekend ended because the crash I had on Friday took my confidence away and I didn’t qualify well. So I’ve got my confidence back with that and am looking forward to the next race,” concluded the 17 year old Australian.
The 14 year old German Florian Alt was also pleased with his 9th. He had been with the lead 8 man battle for much of the race. “I could stay with them but only when I had the slipstream, when I lost it there was nothing I could do and I dropped back. Still I have learnt a lot and really enjoyed the weekend.
There were a number of fallers, mostly without injury but Brazilian 14 year old Antonio Chiari is nursing a plastered left forearm after badly wrenching his thumb and unfortunately Alan Techer, the 15 year old Frenchman, was taken to hospital with moderate concussion and a broken left upper arm that will probably require and operation to reset.
Race 2 Classification
1. Daniel Ruiz (ESP) 30 minutes 13.769 seconds
2. Danny Kent (GBR) +0.071
3. Daijiro Hiura (JPN) +0.150
4. Mathew Scholtz (RSA) +0.228
5. Harry Stafford (GBR) +0.377
6. Jacob Gagne (USA) +0.844
7. Niccolo Antonelli (ITA) +2.179
8. Joshua Hook (AUS) +6.514
9. Florian Alt (GER) +14.256
10. Alejandro Pardo (ITA) +25.396
Source: Red Bull Rookies Cup
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