Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup contested two typically hard fought races at the Brno circuit in the Czech Republic on Saturday and Sunday with championship leader Jorge Martin winning in Saturday’s Rd. 8 and fellow Spaniard Joan Mir picking up the prize in Sunday’s Rd. 9.
Martin continues to lead the points as this breeding ground for young road racing talent enters the second half of the season. He recovered from a bad start to take the win on Saturday but his lead was cut from 55 points to 30 in Sunday’s race when his KTM RC 250R was clipped by Dutch rider Bo Bendsneyder in the final charge for the finish line. Both riders ended their race in the gravel.
The weekend was quite eventful for the Rookies Cup competitors when on Saturday officials shortened the race to just nine laps because of rain on parts of the long sweeping circuit. Riders went out on regulation wet tires on a track that dried out quickly and tire deterioration was a problem in the closing stages. It nevertheless proved to be an opportunity for Martin to add to his points after he collected his third victory of the season while pole sitter Manual Pagliani of Italy finished second ahead of Stefano Manzi, also of Italy.
Martin made a good recovery in Saturday’s race after a poor start, a problem he admitted that he needed to solve. He fought his way back into the action in time to join Pagliani, Manzi and Britain’s Brad Ray at the front of the pack as the race progressed. Pagliani got relegated to the back of the group of four while Ray and Martín fought it out at the front but together with Manzi got back in the action in time to take the minor places. As riders climbed the hill to the finish line Martin saw he had some room to breathe on one of the big screens that lined the circuit. “It was a hard race, a lot of fun but the wet tires were destroyed well before the end on the dry track,” concluded the Cup leader.
Sunday was another day and the Brno circuit offered a dry track and no sign of bad weather when the rookies lined up for Rd. 9. Pagliani’s luck ran out in early when he crashed from the lead position in the opening lap while riding together with Mir and Manzi. Martin again got a bad start but worked hard to get back into the lead group in the final stages and looked set to take another victory. His hopes were dashed after his too close encounter with Bensnyder and the race went to Mir.
Impressive in Brno was Red Bull MotoGP Rookie Fabio Di Giannantonio of Italy who finished eighth on Saturday and wrapped up his weekend with a podium second on Sunday. Di Giannantonio is in his first season in the competition. Manzi again picked up third place on Sunday
The young riders will be back on the track for two more rounds next weekend as part of the program of the MotoGP of Britain at the famed Silverstone circuit in the UK. Three rounds in September – one at Misano in Italy and a double header at Aragon, Spain conclude the 2014 season for the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup.
Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup – Results of Rd. 9 at Brno, Czech Republic, (Results Rd. 8 – Rd. 9)
(All riders on KTM RC 250 R)
1, Joan Mir, ESP, 31:05.408, (5 – 1)
2, Fabio Di Giannantonio, ITA, at 0.081, (8 – 2)
3, Stefano Manzi, ITA, at 0.102, (3 – 3)
4, Bradley Ray, GBR, at 0.607, (4 – 4)
5, Marc Garcia, ESP, at 0.653, (6 – 5)
6, Enzo Boulom, FRA, at 1.401, (10 – 6)
7, Aris Michail, GER, at 11.647, (19 – 7)
8, Jaume Masia, ESP, at 11.819, (11 – 8)
9, Toprak Razgatlioglu, TUR, at 11.820, (16 – 9)
10, Oscar Gutierrez, ESP, at 11.842, (14 – 10)
Standings after Rds. 8&9
1, Jorge Martin, ESP, 155
2, Mir, 125
3, Manzi, 104
4, Soushi Mihara, JPN, 103
5, Ray, 94
Image courtesy KTM Racing