Jorge Martín won the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup for 2014 with a masterful fourth while arch rival and fellow Spaniard Joan Mir won the thrilling fifteen lap race. With seven teenagers in the battle for victory, Martín might have taken it easy and picked up the few points he needed but the 16-year-old only gave up on the race win in the final third of a lap as 17-year-old Mir locked horns with Stefano Manzi and Fabio Di Giannantonio ahead of him.
“I should have just been thinking about the championship,” admitted Martín. “But of course I wanted to win and right to the end I was going to try it but the other guys were very fast today. On that last lap there just wasn't the chance to do it without taking a big risk. So now I am champion and I can just enjoy going for the win tomorrow.”
Manzi, the 15-year-old Italian took his ninth podium of the year, flashing across the line just 0.011 seconds behind Mir and 0.097 ahead of fellow countryman Di Giannantonio, also fifteen. “First I have to congratulate Jorge on winning the Cup,” said Mir immediately after the race. “I did everything I could, I won the race and that is it. All I can do now is try again tomorrow.”
For most of the race that quartet had been tussling with Brad Ray, the 17-year-old Briton, 17-year-old Turk, Toprak RazgatlÄ±oÄŸlu and Bo Bendsneyder, the 15-year-old Dutchman. In the last few laps Bendsneyder and RazgatlÄ±oÄŸlu lost a little ground and on the final tour Ray had water splash onto his screen and dropped back to cross the line seventh.
It was another fabulous Rookies Cup race with the leading seven screwing everything from the KTM RC 250 R's for the penultimate time this year. Manzi, Mir and Martín made the early running but first year Rookie Di Giannantonio pulled Ray, RazgatlÄ±oÄŸlu and Bendsneyder into contention and his podium finish was a just reward.
“Yes it was a great race,” enthused a sweaty Di Giannantonio who actually led across the line going onto the final lap. “The bike was good but the rear suspension setting perhaps not perfect because it was sliding quite a lot and I just did what I could to manage the grip. I was trying to win it but at the end Mir closed the door perfectly and there was no way past him and Manzi. Still a lot of fun, we will probably change the bike a little and try again tomorrow.”
Ray was obviously disappointed and smashing the lap record was small consolation, “Not again,” he said shaking his head. “There's water in the belly pan so I don't know what happened. Such a shame, I was really enjoying passing them on the brakes, I was going for it even though the rear was sliding a bit, perhaps the water was already getting on the tyre. I'm sure the guys will fix it and we'll have another go tomorrow.”
“That was a hard race,” admitted Bendsneyder. “I'm not really happy, I wanted better, my bike setting wasn't right for the fast corners and I was losing ground and lost the slipstream towards the end. I had to do something pretty crazy at the last corner to get fifth from Brad and Toprak. We'll probably try to change something with the settings for tomorrow.”
RazgatlÄ±oÄŸlu put in a another great performance. “A lot of fun but I had a few moments, I had to run wide when someone slowed in front of me, then I had a nasty highside as I was pushing to catch up again and only just managed not to crash. Then on the last lap the gear change linkage broker,” reported the Sachsenring winner who took sixth from Ray in a video judged finish.
This final Rookies Cup race of the year can be seen live on www.redbull.tv and on TV stations around the world on Sunday at 15.30 CET, the show starts 10 minutes before the race.