A champion's ride in unusual conditions netted points leader Jorge Martín his third victory of the season in Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup Race 1 at Brno in the Czech Republic. The race was run on wet tyres on a dry track and the 16-year-old Spaniard fought back from a poor start to catch Manuel Pagliani, Stefano Manzi and Brad Ray who had charged ahead.
After a solid pre-race rain shower the shortened, nine lap, race had to be run on wet tyres because of the continued threat of more rain. Any dampness on the track was evaporating as the 24 riders came under starter's orders and as the lights went out pole man Pagliani shot into an early lead.
Pagliani on a mission
The 18-year-old Italian had given pre race notice of his intention to ride away and set out to do just that. Half way round lap two he had a one second advantage over 15-year-old Italian Stefano Manzi and 17-year-old Briton Brad Ray. It was never that big again as Manzi and Ray closed in and Martín was quicker than all three.
For the second half of the race it was a four man battle for the lead with Pagliani relegated to the back of the group as Ray and Martín traded the lead and threatened to break away. They prevented that themselves by disrupting each other's lines and onto the final lap it was anyone's race.
Martín snatched the advantage and a crucial gap as they climbed the hill back to the finish for the final time. “I could see on the big TV screen that I had a few metres on the other guys and that I didn't have to do anything crazy through the last section,” grinned Martín. “It was a hard race, a lot of fun but the wet tyres were destroyed well before the end on the dry track,” concluded the Cup leader.
While Martín had the slightest breathing space into the last left-and-right, there was nothing in the trio battling for second and third. It was Brad Ray who missed out on the podium. “I just had a moment starting the climb, got together with Manzi and lost the drive right when it counted,” reported the unlucky Brit with his usual grin. “Still it was a lot of fun, let's hope for a dry race tomorrow.”
Ray's slip gives it to the Italians
That should have given Manzi second but Pagliani had the slipstream from both Ray and Manzi up the hill plus a plan at the final left and right. “I remembered last year and the battle with Hanika so I went for it between the two corners,” explained the Italian who passed both on the change of direction to take second.
For Manzi it was another good podium but..... “A good race a fun battle and another podium but I am getting tired of not winning. A dry race tomorrow and watch out, I am going for it,” said Manzi with steely determination.
Race 2 can be seen live on www.redbull.tv and on TV stations around the world on Sunday at 15.30, the show starts 10 minutes before the race.