The third victory of the season for Karel Hanika and an Assen double for the 17-year-old Czech. He won the Dutch TT round in a battle to the line with Italian 14-year-old Stefano Manzi and Jorge Martin, the 15-year-old Spaniard who was 2nd in Race 1.
It was a pack of five that flashed across the finish line with 17-year-old Dutchman Scott Deroue fourth and Diego Perez, the 15 year old Spaniard, completing the group. A fabulous battle as Hanika had to fight for every corner despite being a second quicker than anyone in qualifying and winning Race 1.
“It was tough, a very different race to yesterday,” said Hanika. “The others were all still there at the finish and I had to push all the way. I tried to break away in front but I couldn’t and this time there were no tactics at the end. I knew that the others were right with me and I just had to be perfect on the last lap and brake as late as possible for the chicane. It was a great race and it is been a perfect weekend, a big help to the championship.”
Manzi all the way
Manzi had been such a star of Race 1 until the error at the final corner and this time made no mistakes. “I got a better start so I did not have to do so much work early on and we had a great battle. I really was trying so hard to win and on the last lap I did everything I could but I know how good Hanika is on the brakes and there was no point in making the same mistake as yesterday.”
Martin was thrilled with another fine ride as he strengthened his second place in the points table. “It was another fun race, I am very happy with that. After yesterday’s handling problems we changed the front for a bit but it really didn’t help so I was still fighting with it but that’s more good points and a great race.”
Martin had seemed to be out of the hunt for the podium with just over a lap to go as Hanika led Manzi and Deroue clear but then Hanika ran wide and over the kerb exiting the Strubben onto the back straight. That shook things up enough for Martin to get back on terms and he pulled Perez with him.
Deroue had his share of the lead and looked as strong as anyone, cheered on by the patriotic crowd. “It was another great race. I’m disappointed not to get on the podium. I really thought I could do it but on the last lap just as I wanted to get the slipstream and catch them through the fast corners leading to the chicane I didn’t get my usual good drive out of the slower right at the far end of the track and so I couldn’t pass them. That was it, disappointing but better than yesterday. I was thinking about that and I didn’t want it to happen again.”
Perez was happy enough with fifth having done everything he could. “I was close all the way, we had a great battle but on the last lap I just wasn’t close enough to make a move to get on the rostrum.”
Hanika extends his lead to 42 points over Jorge Martin with 6 of 14 races completed. Enea Bastianini, the 15-year-old Italian in his first Cup season, moves into third place a further 28 behind as Bradley Ray slips to fourth. It was a disastrous weekend for the 16-year-old Briton who was knocked off in the first race and suffered a technical failure while well in the hunt in Race 2. The next races are at the Sachsenring on July 13th and 14th.