Local hero Karel Hanika delights home crowd with victory in first Rookies race

 In News, Red Bull Rookies

Karel Hanika chased down Livio Loi to take the lead on the last of the 14 laps of Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup Race 1 action at Brno. The 16 year old Czech and Loi, the 15 year old Belgian wrestled back and fourth through the final corners with Loi leading into the final section only to have local hero Hanika win the change of direction into the last right hander and across the line.

Loi had been fast from the start of the weekend, was quickest in the free practice and lined up 6th on the grid. He was even quicker when the lights went out and cut his way forward to take over the lead from Cup leader Florian Alt on lap 3. The 16 year old German gave chase but had no answer as Loi reeled off perfect lap after lap.

Loi and Alt pulled clear of the chasing pack even though Hanika was soon 3rd and had his head down in pursuit. “I didn’t make such a great start,” said pole man Hanika. “Livio and Flo got away and I couldn’t catch them. I really thought that winning was impossible then. I just did what I could to chase Florian, I wouldn’t give up.”

“I just kept pushing all the way and just at the end I caught them. My bike was working great, I didn’t have any big problem with the tyres but of course by the end the rear was past its best and I had a slide coming through the last corner before starting the last lap. That cost me with the gap to Livio and I had to catch him again. It was a great battle with him through the last few corners and just so fantastic to win.”

Loi was still grinning even though he was robbed at the end. “It was a great race and at the end I thought I had a bit more of a lead than I did and I was surprised when Karel came past. In the last 2 laps there were rain drops on the visor and of course we didn’t know how hard it was raining on which part of the track.”

“I fought back and I thought I had the speed to win through the last corners but Karel just took it. Still it was a great race and I want to do the same or better tomorrow,” he concluded with that wonderful grin that he has carried most of the year even though this is his first top 6 result. Even when things have been difficult he has kept trying and has made the hard work pay off.

Alt had no reason to be too disappointed with 3rd, his nearest challengers for the Cup, Scot Deroue and Philippe Oettl, were at the head of the intense pack fighting for 4th but both had a disastrous last lap and finished 9th and 10th. Alt thus extended his points advantage, “I enjoyed the race, I got the lead early but when Livio came past he was going very quick. I chased after him, got close but I couldn’t try to pass him without taking big risks.”

“At the end it started to rain and I certainly didn’t want to do anything silly. When Karel came past I tried to fight back but I also knew that Scott and Philipp were behind so there was no need to be crazy,” concluded Alt who goes into the final 4 races with 173 point leaving Deroue on 155 and Oettl 140.

Oettl and Deroue went onto the last lap 5th and 8th, Deroue making his usual end of race charge but it was an intense, 8 man battle for those places and those 2 did not fair well. It was 14 year old Spaniard Marcos Ramirez who flashed across the line 4th, rubbing elbows with 16 year old Austrian Lukas Trautmann and Jorge Martin the other 14 year old Spaniard.

15 year old Frenchman Simon Danilo crashed on the last lap of the race. As a precaution he has been taken to the hospital in Brno for further checks.

Rookies Cup Race 2 at Brno can be seen live on TV stations around the world and on www.redbull.tv starting at 15.30 CET on Sunday with the show beginning 10 minutes before race time.

Source: Red Bull Rookies Press Release

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