David Salvador saved the best for last and won an incredible Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup finale in Motorland Aragón. The 15-year-old Spaniard put in a brilliant last lap move and flashed across the line just ahead of Marcos Uriarte and Billy van Eerde with 1.7 seconds covering the first 15 finishers.
Pole sitter Uriarte was immediately penalised a place for exceeding track limits but still climbed onto the podium in third place behind 17-year-old Australian van Eerde, Saturday’s winner.
It was the perfect end to the season with every KTM RC 250 R finishing. Especially for Salvador who took an excellent second in Misano, qualified second in Aragon but fell on Saturday in a collision with Barry Baltus. “An incredible race,” he enthused. “The track felt totally different to yesterday, it was colder and windy. The pack was even bigger and the riding more aggressive, everyone wanted to win the last race.”
“My bike felt perfect, we didn’t change anything but it just felt better in today’s conditions and I got a lot of confidence from that. I knew where I had to be on the last lap and put myself in the right place to pass Marcos and win. I am so happy to finish the season like this and thanks to all the staff, family and sponsors for a wonderful first Cup season.”
For van Eerde it was also a perfect end to a season that had started so badly with DNFs in the first four races but four podiums in the last five. “Yes, thanks, that was a great way to end the year, I’m very happy. Perhaps I went a bit early at the end this time, didn’t quite work it the same way as yesterday. The group was a lot bigger today, more finishers, but being on the podium is really good,” he concluded. A nice turnaround remembering that he lost his podium place at the Sachsenring for exceeding track limits.
Uriarte had certainly looked a potential winner, ran at the front several times including the last lap. “It was a really hard race today, very aggressive and huge lead group. It was also very windy, hard to stay on the track and one time I went off was because of a big high-side. So I got penalised, I understand that but at least I still finished on the podium and I’m happy with that.”
Lorenzo Fellon was fourth, another great ride from the 15-year-old Frenchman who also has 4 fifths, 3 sixths and 2 sevenths from his first Cup season. He missed a podium in Jerez because of track limits but it was a great year. “What a nice battle, an incredible way to finish the season,” he said graciously, clearly one of the favourites for 2020.
Another favourite will be Pedro Acosta. Once more the 15-year-old Spaniard worked his way through from ninth and spent plenty of time at the front. He too headed the pack on the last lap. “I remembered from yesterday that leading onto the back straight is not the best plan so I thought that 4th or 5th would be perfect. I thought it would work but I touched with Noguchi, it happens, that’s racing but it wrecked my plan. Still I am happy with the way I rode and it’s been a great first season in Rookies Cup.”
Seventh was enough to secure second in the points table for Acosta ahead of 18-year-old Japanese Haruki Noguchi who was fifth. Between them in the race was Mario Aji, the 15-year-old Indonesian who ended his year with an excellent 6th. He too had led the race a number of times. “I am learning to be more aggressive and it is working,” explained Aji. “I enjoyed the race, it was a big fight and everyone was pushing very hard. I used the 33 rear sprocket, some had the 34. The 33 was good for the slipstream down the back straight but not out of the last corner and across the line.”
Spectating was Carlos Tatay, the 2019 Cup champion. “I enjoyed that very much, it was a fantastic race, great to see such a wonderful battle. But it would have been even better to be in the middle of it myself,” smiled the 16-year-old Spaniard who has already graduated to the Moto3 class, qualified 3rd and finished 12th earlier in the afternoon.
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