A flag to flag win for Czech 16 year old Jakub Kornfeil in treacherous conditions at the Sachsenring boosted him to second place in the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup. Points leader Sturla Fagerhaug crashed chasing him on the wet and slippery track but the 17 year old Norwegian still has a 25 point advantage after recovering to cross the line 12th and pick up 4 points.
In a drama-packed race, pole man Danny Kent crashed out of 2nd place exiting the final corner having just passed 16 year old South African Mathew Scholtz. That gave Scholtz 2nd and 3rd to 15 year old Californian Jake Gagne. Kent remounted and the 15 year old Englishman crossed the line 6th.
Kornfeil’s race story was simple. “I got in front at the start and I just felt great, the bike and the tyres were perfect. It rained all day but stopped before the race so we started to get a dry line and I could just go quicker and quicker. I watched my pit board and saw that my gap was just getting bigger and bigger so I didn’t worry and for me it was an easy race.”
For everyone else the story was completely different and Hayden Gillim was just one of those who had a fantastic ‘if only’ tale. He was the fastest man on the track mid race, lapping quicker than Kornfeil as he charged through from 15th at the end of lap one. “I was enjoying it, it was hard but great fun. I felt good and I was passing the guys and watching my pit board where Danny (Walker) was telling me where I was and how far ahead or behind. Then it got to where he was showing me in 4th and I could see the group right in front so I knew I could get a good result.”
“I got past Danny (Kent) but then just pushed it too hard, got on the gas to much in turn 4, the tight right hander where you start to climb back. It snapped around and threw me off. I got to the bike pretty fast but they had to empty the stones out of the fairing so that cost some time. I got going again and worked my way back to 7th or 8th and was battling with Pardo but then got a bit anxious again, the back came round and there was no saving it. That was the end of the race, I’m OK but for some sore knuckles and I’ve got a bit of something in my eye…. but that was fun,” concluded the 14 year old American who finished 2nd in last year’s AMA U.S. Rookies Cup.
Gillim had set such a pace in his charge that he might conceivably have worried Kornfeil. Another ‘might have’ was Fagerhaug’s effort. “Jakub made such a great started and raced away while everyone else was so slow in the opening laps,” explained Fagerhaug. “I had to work my way through and by the time I got to second (lap 2) he had a big lead (3.5 seconds). I pushed hard to catch him and I guess I pushed too hard because I was catching him and I had plenty of laps to do it in. I highsided (lap 5) and just got back to the bike as quick as I could. I lost a lot of time and it took me a few laps to get back to riding OK. The right hand side of the bike was quite damaged, the footrest broken and the exhaust bent, lucky there are not too many right handers but it was hard going.”
There were others who knew they were a touch lucky as there were 8 fallers, some twice, all without injury. 2nd placed Mathew Scholtz was among those who benefited. “There were a lot of guys crashing and that helped me,’ said Scholtz. “I got in front of Danny going onto the last lap but he passed me again right at the end. I couldn’t believe it when his bike went sideways at the last corner and there was the flag, I was second.”
“It was pretty slippery out there,” said 3rd placed Gagne. “I just kept riding it as hard as I could and staying out of trouble. Then I started seeing the guys crashing and without me doing too much I was getting higher up the places, I didn’t expect to get on the podium but I’ll take it.”