Alt wins last race of the season as small mistake decides intense title battle
Lorenzo Baldassarri, the 15 year old Italian, won the 2011 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup with a perfectly judged 3rd place in the final event of the season at Misano. Race victory at the San Marino Grand Prix went to Florian Alt who passed fellow 15 year old German Philipp Oettl on the line after an intense 17 lap battle.
Only Arthur Sissis could challenge Baldassarri for the Cup going into the final event and for most of the race the 16 year old Australian was in the midst of the 4 man battle for the lead. He might well have taken overall victory in the race and the Cup but for running off the track on lap 14 when battling shoulder to shoulder with Baldassarri for the lead through the flat out right kink down the back straight.
Off onto the wide tarmac apron Sissis regained the track back in 6th place behind Alan Techer and Tomas Vavrous. His task was almost hopeless then as he needed to catch back the 2.5 seconds to Baldassarri and get 2 places ahead of him with just 3 laps remaining. Sissis had no thoughts of giving up though and set his fastest lap of the race on his way to 4th, a great effort, just not enough for the Cup.
Over the last lap Baldassarri let the Germans fight it out for the win as he saw the advantage he had. “It was a great race,” said Baldassarri. “Such a tough fight with Arthur, Philipp and Flo’ we were braking so hard and so late and pushing hard, on the limit, through every corner, the hardest race of the year. Then on the last lap I looked back and I could see that Arthur wasn’t close, I knew I just had to finish 3rd to take the Cup.”
It was all on between Oettl and Alt with pole man Alt leading onto the final lap but that changed. “Philipp passed me out of the slipstream and there was nothing I could do about it,” explained Alt. “I did everything I could to get back in front but there was no chance. Coming out of the last corner, I was flat out, head down and the suddenly, I don’t know why, he slowed and I was past. I won and that makes me happy however it happened.”
“I’ve nothing to say, the race was fine until the last few metres….” said Oettl, refusing to say that it was a premature celebration that cost him the win, shaking his fist in triumph well before the finish line and easing off enough for Alt to get past.”
He wasn’t the only disappointed Rookie of course as Sissis had to accept that the Cup, the winner’s KTM Duke 125, was in the hands of the Italian. “The race was all going OK, we were having a great battle then I just made that one mistake. We were fighting for the lead and I tried to get back around him, he just moved over and I was off the track. I tried, I rode as hard as I could to get back but I just couldn’t make it. Still it’s been a great year, the best year of my life.”
Chasing Sissis across the line was Vavrous followed by Techer who already had 3rd in the Cup secure before the last race. Vavrous enjoyed his final Rookies Cup ride, “A Brilliant start, I never had a start like this. I was in the lead group, then on the 5th lap a high-side. I stayed on the bike but was passed by a lot of guys and then I had too much work to get back. It was a nice race and I had fun.”
In all 8 different riders won at least one of the 14 races with 16 of the 24 riders finishing on the podium during the season. Baldassarri won 2 races, was on the podium 6 times and scored in every race while Sissis had 4 wins and was 2nd 3 times but also fell twice and had one none scoring result due to a mechanical problem.
The Selection Event for the 2012 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup is on October 10th, 11th and 12th where between 10 and 15 riders will be invited to join the 10 to 15 who remain in the Rookies Cup from this season. The 2012 Entry List will be announced in late October.
1. Florian Alt (GER) 30 minutes 47.995 seconds
2. Philipp Oettl (GER) +0.015
3. Lorenzo Baldassarri (ITA) +0.633
4. Arthur Sissis (AUS) +3.226
5. Tomas Vavrous (CZE) +3.273
6. Alan Techer (FRA) +3.325
7. Kyle Ryle (GBR) +3.367
8. Ivo Lopes (POR) +4.063
9. Stefano Valtulini (ITA) +4.540
10. Josep Garcia (ESP) +12.363
Source: Red Bull Rookies