American Jake Gagne won the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup by finishing second to Danny Kent in a fantastic close to the 2010 season while Daijiro Hiura, the 16-year-old Japanese rider, finished third in both race and Cup.
Californian 17-year old Gagne started from back on the third row of the grid while 16-year-old Briton Kent was on pole but Gagne made a nonsense of his qualifying position by jumping into fifth almost from the start and finishing the first lap in fourth place with Kent leading.
Gagne had gone into the race with an 11 point advantage over Kent and while the Briton clearly had the pace to win he soon realised that he needed to also try and influence what happened behind as Gagne moved into 3rd on lap two behind 17-year-old Australian Josh Hook.
In a string of masterful moves Kent slowed the race down so that others could join the battle and hopefully push Gagne out of that essential third. It worked as Alessio Cappella, Kevin Calia, Daijiro Hiura, Daniel Ruiz, Brad Binder and Harry Stafford all joined the battle at the front.
“I realised what he was trying to do,” said Gagne. “He’s clever and he needed to try and get the other guys between us. I gust kept my head down and knew that as long as I was close to him I had a good chance of getting the points I needed.”
Kent tried everything, however just fell short in the end.
“I knew that I needed to get some other guys between us, just 2 was enough so I played it every way I could but Jake was just too good today and all credit to him he rode a great race,” Kent said. “I did everything that I could, won the race but it wasn’t enough. It’s been a great season with a lot of great battles.”
It could so easily have turned out differently though if any of the top group got tangled together as was demonstrated when Hook highsided on lap eight and 15-year-old South African Binder fell swerving to avoid him. They were just behind the lead trio at the time, neither were hurt but were out of the race.
Stepping down from the podium with his FIM Cup medal Gagne spoke of what the Rookies Cup has meant to him.
“Just about all my roadracing experience has been in the Rookies Cup,” explained the ex-motocrosser. “I started with the Rookies Cup in the US three years ago and then with these two years in the Rookies Cup in Europe I have learnt so much, not just the great GP tracks I’ve ridden on but so much about riding from the great coaches – Gustl Auinger, Kevin Schwantz and Raul Jara – and talking to the media, just everything to help me with my career.”