In desperately slippery conditions pole man Raúl Fernández won a shortened Race 1 at Assen. The 15-year-old Spaniard had already settled into a nice rhythm at the head of the field when the chasing pack of three all slid off together. Eight seconds behind, Marc Garcia and Ai Ogura took second and third.
While those around him made mistakes Fernández rode the perfect race. "From the start it felt strange but from the second or third lap I found my rhythm and was comfortable on the bike," explained Fernández. "After halfway I knew that I had a big lead and when it started to rain more I used my head and took it easy. With more rain the good feeling was gone, it was a lot more slippery and I couldn't brake or accelerate as hard."
"It is great to have my first win here, I love the track and it was a hard race. I dedicate the win to Luis Salom and his family," added the Madrid native who moved into third place in the championship chase.
Better than Jerez
Garcia, the 16-year-old Spaniard, moves fourth in the title chase, making up for a frustrating Jerez where he was knocked off before Race 1 had even started. He still hoped for more. "The result was good for the championship but it wasn't a perfect race for me."
"Early on I got into a rhythm and I was quite comfortable but as it started to rain more I felt the rear suspension was a bit soft, I felt it could high-side so I was not feeling so confident, then the red flag came out. That was OK for me, good for the points, certainly better than Jerez. Tomorrow I hope it will be dry, these conditions are very tricky."
First year Rookie, Ai Ogura, the 15-year-old Japanese, put on a great show to take third and has higher ambitions. "That was OK, of course I wish it was better, I go out to win but there is tomorrow, I will try, hopefully in the dry. It was very difficult conditions, hard to find the right feeling and I think my suspension was too hard, the rear was sliding around a lot under power so I couldn't follow the top group early on."
"I just had to let them go but then a lot of them fell off, very lucky for me and that gave me the podium. Tomorrow though I want it to be dry and I want to win."
Tied on points at the head of the table coming into the race, 15-year-old Japanese Ayumu Sasaki had half a mind on the title chase. "In the beginning I didn't have a good feeling. I realised that I had to relax and go easy. I had to let the others go. As it started to rain more I felt better and I was thinking that I could get past some of the group in the last few laps but then the red flag came out. That's OK fourth is better than a crash."
Equal on points with Sasaki after Jerez was Aleix Viu but the 15-year-old Spaniard struggled in Qualifying and then slid off on lap four. "I think I just touched the white line on the brakes because I lost it so quickly."
There were other fallers including the group battling for second. When Kaito Toba, the 16-year-old Japanese went down Rory Skinner could not miss him. "That was unlucky," explained the 14-year-old Scot. "I had got into a good rhythm and was happy to work with Kaito and Rufino to do something. Then Toba went down and I couldn't miss him."
Rufino Florido, the 16-year-old Spaniard, was a few metres back but also went down. "I lost concentration a bit when they fell, turned too tight and lost it," he explained.
Sunday's Rookies Cup race can be seen live on www.redbull.tv and on TV stations around the world, the race starts at 15.30 CET, the show 10 minutes earlier.