Kevin Calia rode and absolutely perfect 14 laps to win his first Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup race. The 15 year old Italian lead all but the first one and a half laps and left 16 year old Japanese Daijiro Hiura to snatch 2nd place from 16 year old Briton Danny Kent at the final corner.
It was an extremely rare Rookies race in that Calia managed to open up almost a 1 second lead after 2 laps and though Kent and the chasing pack tried everything possible they could not make any significant attack on the Italian.
Calia had been quick through practice and was confident, starting from 3rd on the grid. “When I woke up this morning I believed that I could win the race, but not like this, not going away and saying good-bye to the others. I kept thinking that they would catch me, that is what normally happens in our races, I just kept pushing as hard as I could and they never did.”
“I’m so happy with the way the bike is working I’m not going to change anything for tomorrow. I guess the others might and the race could be closer but I still think I can win it, if it’s a close race or another one like this I don’t mind, it is winning that is important not how.”
Hiura was happy with second. “It just wasn’t possible to catch Kevin today, we tried but he was too fast. I enjoyed the race, we had another great battle and the only trouble I had was a bit of sliding at the rear so we might change the suspension a bit for tomorrow. We only need a small change to make it right and I really want to win tomorrow.”
Similarly with thoughts of some bike changes and a victory on Sunday, Kent was pleased to have closed the points battle on Jake Gagne to just 6 after the 16 year old Californian finished back in 8th. “My dad was giving me pit boards to tell me where Jake was so I knew I was gaining some points on him and that’s important. It was great, a lot of close clean battling and I have to congratulate Kevin on riding a perfect race.”
“We will need to change the bike set-up a bit for tomorrow, I think it was good for one fast lap but it was too hard on the rear tyre and it started sliding around a lot. I also had an engine misfire towards the end, it started above 12,000 and I had to change up early, normally you rev it past 13 so it was losing out on the straights. On the last lap coming up the hill it was terrible. I didn’t realise that Daijiro was so close though, he got inside me and I looked across but there was nothing I could do about it, he took the line. Then I got hit by someone, Harry (Stafford) I think, on the run in to the line.”
Calia was gifted the lead after pole man 16 year old Italian Alejandro Pardo high-sided from first in the stadium section on lap 2 but from there it was all Calia with up to 10 men battling behind for a chance to get on the podium. One of those who looked a strong candidate was 15 year old Italian/Nigerian Alessio Cappella but he was flicked into the air with 2 laps to go and only just saved the situation so that he could finish 6th.
16 year old Briton Harry Stafford was in the midst of the pack and made a well timed play for a rostrum place with 2 laps to go but just lost out the final 2 corners. “Dani Ruiz and I had worked together to get to the front and then on the last lap I thought about passing Daijiro but thought I’d probably take him out so it came down to the last corner and I got a good drive out but then Daijiro swerved, Danny Kent swerved and we hit. It was a fun race though I really enjoyed it.”
Not having so much fun was 16 year old Californian Jake Gagne, “It was a bit of a problem after missing so much practice when I crashed yesterday. The front end was chattering and bottoming out everywhere so there was nothing more I could do, I just rode to get as many points as I could and we’ll change the bike for tomorrow and hope to get on the podium.”
Race 2 in Brno starts tomorrow, Sunday at 15.30 CET.
Official Race 1 Results
1. Kevin Calia (ITA) 31 minutes 24.166 seconds (144.526 kph)
2. Daijiro Hiura (JPN) +1.537
3. Danny Kent (GBR+1.599
4. Harry Stafford (GBR) +1.626
5. Daniel Ruiz (ESP) +1.679
6. Alessio Cappella (ITA) +2.076
7. Brad Binder (RSA) +2.523
8. Jacob Gagne (USA) +2.894
9. Florian Alt (GER) +2.951
10. Xavier Figueras (ESP) +3.024
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