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Lunetta wins Valencia Race 1 – Rueda puts a hand on the Rookies Cup

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Lunetta wins Valencia Race 1 – Rueda puts a hand on the Rookies Cup

Lunetta Wins Valencia Race 1 – Rueda Puts A Hand On The Rookies CupLuca Lunetta won a typically superb penultimate race of the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup season and points leader José Rueda extended his points lead to 15 by finishing 4th with arch rival Collin Veijer 7th.

It was an intense struggle from first lap to last with the front row of Angel Piqueras, Casey O’Gorman and Màx Quiles swapping the lead between them just ahead of Veijer and Rueda. Finally it was Spaniards Piqueras and Quiles who joined Lunetta on the podium.

Lunetta had been in the pack just behind the leading 5 along with Rico Salmela and Marcos Ruda as the 8 pulled away from the field. Only in the closing stages did Lunetta, the 16-year-old Italian, challenge for the lead but then he made it stick.

Hard work pays off for Lunetta

“I’ve wanted this win for a long time, I’ve worked very hard for it. It’s incredible that in my 3rd year of Rookies Cup I finally have my first win in the last race weekend.”

“Coming to this weekend I said to myself that I have to get this win and I did it but it was a very difficult race fore me. The plan was to get into the lead and slow down the race a bit and manage things.”

“But that was impossible, everyone was pushing so hard and I only got into front positions in the last two laps and then I said to myself, OK we stay here with the slipstream and then I will try on the last lap in Corner 11 where I was so strong on the brakes to take the lead.”

“Then into the last corner I knew that I had to be crazy late on the brakes so that they couldn’t pass me and I was still thinking they would come. But they didn’t.”

“It’s been a great weekend I haven’t changed the bike since the start of the weekend, it has been so good, I will try again tomorrow.”

Piqueras overcomes a double long lap penalty for 2nd

The 15-year-old started the race knowing he had the penalty following practice transgressions. “I had a strategy, I needed to be leading before I took the long lap so that is what I did, took one, then got back to the front and took the 2nd.”

“I was confident on the bike, it has been good all weekend and it was just the last few corners and all the fighting that cost me the win. I will try to win tomorrow.”

Quiles takes 3rd on the brakes

“I’m quite happy with that because on the last lap I didn’t think I was going to manage the podium,” explains the 14-year-old. “I was really in the back of the group because Casey was fighting a lot and stopped me from overtaking but then in the last corner I just braked so late and so hard and overtook 3 guys I think and could make the podium.”

“The bike is perfect, I am very comfortable with it and I want to fight for the win again in the last race.”

Rueda did what was needed

“I’m happy with that,” asserted the Spanish 17-year-old Cup points leader. “I was with Collin all the race I knew that I wanted to keep the points advantage and then in the last few laps I pushed a bit harder.”

“Then on the last lap, in the last corners Màximo overtook me and I couldn’t make it to the podium. 4th is OK, that’s good for the Cup, a bigger gap than at the start of the race. The bike is good, tomorrow we will maybe change things a little, think about it anyway.”

O’Gorman wanted more than 5th

“It was a crazy race, everyone fighting so hard all the way,” explained the 15-year-old Irishman. “Then on the last lap I got the slipstream but was rubbing elbows with Max all the way from Turn 2 to Turn 4.”

“Then into the last corner Rueda hugged the inside so I couldn’t get up the inside and had to go round the outside. We were 4 wide into the last corner then I had a little bobble on the front and lost the run to the line.”

“I’m running longer gearing than anyone else, good at the end of the straight but I am losing coming out of the corners so I think we’ll change it for tomorrow.”

Veijer still fighting

“It was a difficult race,” stated the 17-year-old Dutchman. “Especially at the start I didn’t feel great but then got on the pace. The goal for this race was to minimise the points but it wasn’t possible.”

“So I just tried to stay out of trouble and get as many points as I could and carry the championship fight on to tomorrow.”

“I’ve secured 2nd in the championship so I’ve got no pressure from behind and I can just concentrate on trying my best tomorrow to take the championship if that is possible.”

For more info checkout our dedicated Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup News page Rookies Cup News

Or visit the official Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup website rookiescup.redbull.com/

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