Arthur Sissis won his first road race at Jerez on Sunday, claiming victory in the 2nd round of the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup. The 15 year old Australian stormed into the lead on the first lap and raced away to dominate the 16 laps in extremely wet and treacherous conditions. Second man home was Saturday’s winner, 14 year old German Philipp Oettl who held off a late challenge from 13 year old Spaniard Aaron España, getting on the podium in his first Rookies weekend.
After a day of intermittent rain the track was wet and cold making it a bit of a guessing game for the 25 Rookies as all of practice and the first race at Jerez had been dry. The pre season test at Estoril had been wet and Sissis took advantage of that and his speedway background to take liberties with the grip in the early laps.
It was Alan Techer who got the best start from the front row but the 16 year old Frenchman was immediately under pressure from 14 year old Italian Lorenzo Baldassarri who came off the 2nd row. Neither had the answer to Sissis though, who from row 3 had the lead before the end of lap one. Once in front he never seemed to look back. “I just went for it and once I got in front watched out for the pit board and as I could see the gap was getting bigger I was happy,” said Sissis. “Later on in the race the track started drying out a bit so I was trying a few different things, pushing harder going into the corners and I found I could go a bit quicker. I’ve not got any experience road racing in the rain and I don’t know if I can do the same thing in the dry but I’m going to try and be at the front in Estoril.”
Oettl’s second place added to Saturday’s win put him ahead in the Cup points but again it wasn’t easy. “I didn’t make a great start so I had some work to do to get into 2nd place. I pushed as hard as I could but Arthur was just too fast today there was nothing I could do to catch him. I just kept my rhythm and then in the closing laps I knew that Aaron España was catching and I pushed again, putting in the fastest lap on the last lap so I am happy with that and the points.”
The pace set by España as he charged through the field from 15th on the grid and 18th at the end of lap one was sensational. At times he was well over a second quicker than anyone on the track. Half way through the 16 lap race he was on the tail of the battle for 3rd headed by Techer and 14 year old German Florian Alt that also included Baldassarri and 17 year old Czech Tomas Vavrous. The 5 of them set about a superb tussle that wasn’t helping them close the gap on 2nd placed Oettl but was certainly entertaining.
It all came unglued on lap 10 when Alt, Vavrous and Baldassarri crashed together. A lap later Techer went down handing 3rd to España. The young Spaniard had been so quick catching that group but struggled to get through them. Now he had a clear road again and set his sights on Oettl. At first he seemed quick enough to catch the German but Saturday’s winner picked up the pace and held on. “I am very happy with 3rd,” said España. “It was a great race, a lot of fun and I enjoyed fighting through after my bad start. I could see Oettl ahead at the end but on the last lap I knew it was not really possible to catch him and I didn’t want to do anything silly.”
Pole man Brad Binder had a disastrous day, he didn’t get off the line well and struggled to find his rhythm in the tricky conditions. He slipped as low as 16th on lap 6 before climbing back. Going onto the last lap he was 6th. “I could see I was catching 5th (Joakim Niemi, 16 year old Finn). I tried to get past him coming back to the start and finish but he shut the door on me. I then tried to get the drive on him but high-sided,” said the disappointed 15 year old South African.
Alan Techer’s great ride ended on lap 11 when he crashed out of 3rd. “I had trouble with my visor misting up right from the start and on that lap I was so unsighted I clipped the kerb on the inside and down I went.”
After an almost incident free first half of the race the drying track generated a string of disasters so there were only 13 finishers from 25 starters including last man home Josep Garcia, the 14 year old Spanish motocrosser, who had slid off at the last corner but remounted to cross the line.
Malaysian 14 year old Hafiq Azmi retired with a technical problem but the other 11 DNFs were accidents. Fortunately there were few injuries though Florian Alt has nasty injury to the ring finger of his right hand. Javier Orellana, the 13 year old Briton has a broken left collarbone and 14 year old Spaniard Xavier Pinsach also has an injured right collarbone but it is said not to be broken.
It will not be easy for them all to be fit for the 3rd race of the season on April 30th in Estoril, Portugal. No such worries for Philipp Oettl who heads the Cup chase with 45 points chased by Sissis on 35 and España on 24 after 2 of the 14 race series.
Cup Standings | Download PDF
1. Arthur Sissis (AUS) 33 minutes 04.008 seconds
2. Philipp Oettl (GER) +3.010
3. Aaron España (ESP) +4.024
4. Kevin Argino(ITA) +18.138
5. Joakim Niemi (FIN) +21.288
6. Kyle Ryde (GBR) +34.693
7. James Flitcroft (GBR) +49.132
8. Ivo Lopes (POR) +51.252
9. Joe Roberts (USA) +57.435
10. Max Enderlein (GER) +1’13.742
Source: Red Bull Rookies Cup
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