It all came down to the chicane at the end of the last lap. Barry Baltus dived for the inside ahead of Carlos Tatay and Pedro Acosta but the 15-year-old Belgian asked too much of his front Dunlop and it slid away. Tatay took the advantage but Acosta had the better drive and the 15-year-old Spaniard almost stole the win from his 16-year-old countryman on the line.
While Baltus picked himself up in the gravel trap, Marcos Uriarte crossed the line third with Japanese 18-year-old Haruki Noguchi behind him. Uriarte, the 14-year-old Spaniard, had cut the chicane a few laps earlier though so was then given a time penalty, dropping him to fourth and leaving the third step on the podium to Noguchi.
Tatay too cool
“It was a great race, a very hard and hot race,” he explained after his third win of the season on the KTM RC 250 R. “I tried to push and get away as I did in Mugello but when I realised that was not possible I accepted it and just raced with the other guys without pushing too hard and taking risks. At the end I pushed again but when Barry came past and slid off in front of me I turned as a reaction and managed to win.”
“The bike was great, we have not changed anything since Mugello and it will be the same tomorrow,” concluded the Cup leader who now has a 41 point advantage over the injured Yuki Kunii who finished a brave 7th.
“Just full throttle at the end,” explained the exhausted and very sweaty teen. “It was a great race I had a plan for the last lap, to get into the right position for the chicane. But then Barry passed me and I thought ‘Oh $&%! So I just had to be in a good place to see what happened. When I saw him crash I just turned and gave it full gas to the line, I almost got it.”
“The bike was very good but I think it can be even better on the brakes so we will talk about changing it for tomorrow,” added Acosta who was also second at Mugello after having to miss both races in Jerez following a practice injury.
Noguchi takes another step
“I’m happy that in the end I got on the podium and I’m happy that it was a better race than at Jerez and Mugello,” explained Noguchi. “Earlier in the season I could not follow the fastest but this time I was in the front group and that is what I needed to do. Towards the end No 89 (Uriarte) was moving around a bit too much and bumping me and we lost the leaders, but that’s racing. I really have to thank all the Rookies Cup staff for helping me including Romà (López). I wasn’t well this weekend and I got fantastic support, otherwise I would not be racing.”
“I am so disappointed, I just had front chattering on the brakes and couldn’t hold the line so had to cut the corner. That is hard to accept,” stated the clearly distraught Uriarte. “I will try again tomorrow.”
Kunii coping with injury
“In the end I had a lot of pain and it was impossible to push,” explained the 16-year-old Japanese who had to have an operation on his right wrist after his Mugello crash. “At the start of the race I could ride quite well but then we lost the leading group a bit and when I went to go after them I found it too hard. It was very painful and I didn’t have the feel I needed to brake and accelerate the way I would normally. I finished and got some points, that’s the main thing and I hope it will be better tomorrow.”
Fellon fought all the way
“I’m happy with that. After only qualifying 16th I was worried about the race,” explained the 14-year-old Frenchman who finished 6th. “I had a good setting for used tyres in the Free Practice sessions but on new tyres for qualifying I struggled. Thanks to Santi (Santiago Morralla) though, he gave me a great setting for the race and I could really push. It was hard both physically and mentally though because Kunii and Salvador were pushing so hard.”
Baltus his own winner
“I’m happy with the race because in my mind I won it,” said Baltus. “I just lost so much down the back straight, I could not stay in their slipstream, I lost 15 metres every lap and had to make it up in the next corners. I had to pass Acosta twice on the last lap to get in position to pass Tatay. Then I just got in slightly too fast and lost the front. The bike was great, handled perfectly and I will push hard again tomorrow.”
This weekend’s Rookies Cup races can be seen live on www.redbull.tv and on TV stations around the world.
Race 2 is on Sunday at 15:30, the show starts 10 minutes before the race.