Toprak RazgatlÄ±oÄŸlu won one of the most sensational Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup races with a series of passing moves over the last few laps that seemed to defy the laws of physics. The 17-year-old Turk crossed the line ahead of 16-year-old Spaniard Joan Mir by just .018 of a second with Italian 15-year-old Stefano Manzi third, just 0.169 off the lead.
It was a six man battle for the win all the way to the line and the three men who missed the podium were Japanese 14-year-old Soushi Mihara, 14-year-old Spaniard Oscar Gutierrez and Brad Ray, the 17-year-old Briton.
Shaking with excitement
“That was so exciting,” said RazgatlÄ±oÄŸlu. “It was such a tough race and by the end the rear was sliding everywhere. I thought the others were going to pass me on the last lap, down the hill, like they did earlier but when they didn't I knew I could win it. I was so nervous on that last lap I could feel my legs shaking,” concluded the first time winner who had brought the race alive with his charge to the front.
As the six traded places, paint and sweat at every corner it was easy to forget the fact that Manuel Pagliani had crashed out of the lead with just five laps remaining. The 17-year-old Italian had a nine second advantage when he collided with 14-year-old South African Hanro van Rooyen as he lapped him.
Fastest man fell
As Pagliani picked himself up and could only watch, the six battled for victory. RazgatlÄ±oÄŸlu had dragged Ray and Mir into contention as it was Manzi, Mihara and Gutierrez who had been chasing Pagliani early on. They had no answer as Pagliani reeled off a string of fastest laps and disappeared, later he went quicker still and set the fastest lap of the race on lap 13 of the 19, just before he fell.
RazgatlÄ±oÄŸlu did all the hard work and dragged his chasing pair into a six-way battle for the lead. He got to the front of the group but he is the tallest and heaviest guy in the Cup and the ballast weights only go so far in redressing that. He is too easy to slipstream and no sooner had he got to the front than he was demoted again.
RazgatlÄ±oÄŸlu with the answers
Fighting back again he used lines that others didn't even think off to negate his size disadvantage and going onto the final lap he went from fourth to first at the first corner with an inside move on the brakes that was brilliant.
It looked as though leading so early in the final lap would not serve him well but in the demanding change of direction at the top of the hill before the final drop he gained so much on the others that he had just enough of an advantage to hold on.
Mir and Manzi so close
Second place man Mir certainly had thoughts of victory. “It was the most fantastic race, we battled all the way, I thought I could pass Toprak on the last lap but I made a tiny mistake, had a slide and that was it. Still I have to thank him for taking me to the podium, the lead group had got away from me early in the race and it was only Toprak passing me that towed me back into the fight for the win.”
Manzi was left yet again to ponder what might have been, he led the group across the line five times but not when it counted and he is still looking for his first Cup victory. “It was a tough race, very hard, we had a great battle but the result is not what I wanted, tomorrow will be different.”
Considering power-to-weight ratio and frontal area, RazgatlÄ±oÄŸlu's victory did defy the laws of physics. He has the chance to work his magic again in Race 2, while the others, including pole man Olly Simpson who crashed out at the third corner, have their opportunity to stop him pulling another rabbit out of the hat. Cup leader Jorge Martín will be glad of the chance as he only picked up 4 points for 12th after crashing while trying to make up for a start line collision.
Race 2 is on Sunday at 15.30 CET. The show starts 10 minutes before the race and can be seen live on www.redbull.tv and on TV stations around the world.