Red Bull PR:
Sturla Fagerhaug won a perfectly judged race to claim his second victory of the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup season. The 17 year old Norwegian crossed the line just 0.266 seconds ahead of 16 year old Czech Jakub Kornfeil after the pair had played cat and mouse over the last laps, each hoping the other would lead the final run to the line.
They had broken away from a rabid battle for third. The final place on the podium eventually went to Daijiro Hiura but only after the 14 year old Japanese had dug deep in his considerable talent over the final lap that ended with three crashing as they exited the final turn. Alejandro Pardo high-sided violently and the two South Africans behind him, Brad Binder and Mathew Scholtz came together as the avoided the tumbling Italian.
What ended as a Fagerhaug command performance did not start like that at all. From a well crafted pole he went backwards to 17th. “I just gave it too much throttle and flooded the engine. It just wouldn’t go. I really thought that was it, I wasn’t going to win. I tried to settle down and pass people as quickly as I could but I made a few mistakes and got re-passed as well. Then it started to work and I was able to get through to the front.”
“Luckily Jakub and I were able to get away from the rest of the group. I wanted to do most of the leading because I wasn’t sure what Jakub’s pace would be if he were in front. Then I hoped he would lead over the last few laps so that he couldn’t just pass me out of the slipstream on the run into the line. I got him to go ahead but then he slowed and I had to pass again. We couldn’t go on like that for long because I knew the others would catch us so I then just went as fast as I could to try and get a bit of a gap on the final lap and it worked,” concluded Fagerhaug.
Kornfeil admitted he had done everything he could. “I knew that it was best to let Sturla do the leading. He is so fast and that way we could get clear of the others. Every lap I was testing the run in to the finish line to see how I might pass him on the last lap. I knew that was my only real chance. Then on the last lap he was just a bit too quick and I wasn’t close enough. Still I really enjoyed the race and in Assen I am going to try and go one better.”
Hiura said that third place was very simple. “I just rode the last lap as hard as I could. It was such a hard race, so much overtaking, it was very difficult to get a rhythm and impossible to get away, riders were overtaking everywhere, on the last lap I just turned the throttle full open. Third is OK but in Assen I really want to win.”
Fourth man home Florian Marino was very frustrated after being in the hunt for the win for almost the entire race. “I wanted to get on the podium, I really think I was fast enough but it was just like Jerez, some guys making crazy passes and I would get pushed wide then another two guys could get by as well. It was like that the whole race. I know it is up to me to ride better and get away like Sturla and Jakub did but it is very difficult.”
His feelings were echoed by Jake Gagne, the 15 year old Californian who had got into a good looking 3rd place only to crash on lap 9 of the 14. “It was pretty crazy, some really mad overtaking moves that just slowed us all down so the front two got away. I finally got clear and on my own but then lost the rear coming through the downhill final turn.”
It was the same place that caught out Pardo on the final lap. “The back end just came round and snapped, I went over the high-side,” reported the 15 year old Italian who ended the day nursing a painful inner thigh area with a large pack of ice!
“It was a hard race,” said Scholtz. “Just too much overtaking in the wrong places, I had got up to 2nd but then it was just crazy and I went right back again,” reported the 16 year old. “Then on the last lap Pardo high-sided, Brad braked to miss him and I hit Brad.”
None of the fallers were seriously injured and with Danny Kent finishing 7th behind Daniel Ruiz and Arthur Sissis, Fagerhaug now leads the Cup by 20 points from the 15 year old Englishman with Kornfeil moving to 3rd a further 12 points adrift. The 4th of the 8 race season takes place at Assen on June 27th.
For those who missed the live web feed, the first 2 races are already viewable on the Rookies website www.redbullrookiescup.com and Mugello will soon be uploaded.
Arthur Sissis was sixth, Dylan Mavin was eighth, and Josh Hook crashed out of the race.