A stunning penultimate corner move from Czech 16 year old Karel Hanika stole victory from Belgian 15 year old Livio Loi at the San Marino Grand Prix in race 13 of the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup. It was a repeat of the final lap of Race 1 at the Czech Grand Prix 3 weeks ago except this time 16 year old Austrian Lukas Trautmann was there to take advantage and ease Loi into 3rd.
“That was a fantastic race,” said Hanika, who had qualified 10th in the tricky wet and variable conditions that plagued Friday. “I didn't make a great start and had to work very hard to get to the front. I followed Livio for a long time and so I was able to find out his lines and see where I might do something at the end. I didn't mean to leave to the last corners, I had planned something earlier but made a mistake so I was only left with that last chance. I went inside and I have to apologise to Livio because I may have touched him.”
Trautmann was naturally thrilled to be on the podium again, putting in a great 2nd half of the season. “What a great race, I could pass them on the brakes at the end of the back straight but not on the last lap. I really was looking for a way past and when Karel went inside and Livio went wide I followed through. Roll on Aragon, I can't wait.”
Loi seems to manage a broad grin whatever happens, he has struggled at times this year and still maintained great cheer, typically he reacted still with a smile after taking 3rd. “It was a great race, a hard race, I did most of the leading and I thought I had the line to win but then Karel came inside, he touched me, I went wide and then Lukas got by as well. It's a hard way to lose a race but there is next time.”
Tough luck for the Belgian who had been in front most of the way and defended that position, under assault all the way from Trautmann, Hanika and Cup leader Florian Alt. The 16 year old German had charged off the 3rd row of the grid and briefly taken the lead mid way through the 17 laps. Alt's Cup rival Scott Deroue, the 16 year old Dutchman, was there as well, he had fought through from the 5th row and also threatened to lead, finally crossing the line 4th, just ahead of Alt to keep his Cup hopes alive.
Alt still has a handsome 29 point advantage over Deroue heading for the last 2 races in Aragon but there are 50 points on offer there. Philipp Oettl will need all of those as he stands 49 behind Alt in 3rd place. The fact that he heads to Spain with a mathematical chance of taking the Cup is thanks to a brilliant ride from the 7th row of the grid. Setting fastest lap after fastest lap, the 16 year old German clawed his way forward, for much of the race on his own without any slipstream and finally passed pole man Bradley Ray on the final lap for 8th place and vital points.
While Oettl was doing his work alone, the battle up front was the usual hectic affair. Though there were as many as 9 riders in the lead group there were few incidents, Stefano Manzi, the 13 year old Italian, was an early leader but slid off on lap 9. The remaining 8 raced on including last year's Cup winner, the 15 year old Italian Lorenzo Baldassarri, finally being beaten out of 6th place by Diego Perez, the 15 year old Spaniard, having his best race since claiming 2 3rds at the opening weekend in Jerez.
The final 2 races in the 2012 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup are at Aragon in Spain on September 29th and 30th.
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