Mugello : Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup
Luis Salom extended his lead in the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup with a superb win from the 5th row of the grid.
An almost race long battle with American JD Beach gave the 16 year old Spaniard victory number 4 from 5 races with
Beach collecting his 5th 2nd place and 13 year old Japanese Daijiro Hiura completing the rostrum.
“That was such a hard race”, said Salom who has a 13 point advantage over 16 year old Beach half way through the 10 race season. “After the crash in the first qualifying session the bike was wrecked and I couldn't ride in the second. So I was 18th on the grid and I just had to go so hard right from the start.”
“Passing some of the guys wasn't too hard but when I got to the front of the pack JD had about 4 seconds advantage. I thought it was going to be hard to win this one. I pushed and pushed so I was happy to catch him in a few laps and take the lead. He fought back, it was a lot of fun. We collided, wow, that was crazy, I had my head down and didn't even know he was there beside me until we hit.”
Beach had led from early on, getting the better of Hiura who also started from the front row before completing the first lap. He knew that it was no time to relax as Salom could be expected to be making up ground. “I knew he was coming and I just tried to go as fast as I could in the opening laps. I guess it wasn't fast enough because he caught us up. I wasn't going to let him go and we had a great race. We bumped a couple of times, he ran into me pretty heavy once but he then apologised, it's just racing I guess.”
“Then for the last lap I had a plan to pass him between the last chicane and the final downhill left hander but I had a big slide out of the chicane a few corners back. I didn't back off the gas, I stayed in it but I lost ground. From there I caught up a bit but not enough so it's second again”, he said, unable to hide his disappointment and frustration.
Even Hiura was a little frustrated with his close third place. “I just didn't feel comfortable on the bike through the chicane sections here, and there are a lot of those. I felt heavy, cumbersome. It is something I've really got to work on.”
“After Salom came past I really tried to find out what I could do different, we had no dry practice so I was experimenting a lot with using different gears and lines. Sometimes I closed a little and sometimes I lost. I just couldn't quite catch him”, said the first year Rookie who was about one second behind the lead battle for almost all the race.
Ten seconds further back was the 3 man struggle for 4th that went in favour of 16 year old Spaniard Daniel Ruiz over 15 year old German Daniel Kartheininger and 15 year old Czech Jakob Kornfeil.
“It was a great race all the way”, said Ruiz. “I enjoyed the battle so much. I was in front going onto the last lap but they caught me on the brakes at the end of the straight. I got them back but going through the downhill I hit a bump, had a slide and almost fell. I managed to hang on and take fourth, great”, concluded the Spaniard who moved up the points standing to 6th with his best finish of the year.
Kartheininger was happy with the way he started the race but not with the the 5th place finish. “I was 13th or 14th off the line but I braked very late for the first corner and passed about 5 riders. I pushed hard and was up to 7th by the end of the lap. I was feeling good and realised I could go faster than the others so managed to get up to third.”
“Ruiz caught me and didn't seem to have any trouble passing me down the straight. I had to fight hard with him and Kornfeil. On the last lap I was in just the right position to pass Ruiz on the run into the line but as I pulled out of his slipstream my bike just wouldn't go past.”
13 year old Italian Kevin Calia suffered a heavy fall, thrown from his bike exiting the fast downhill left hander at the end of the 3rd lap. Though concussed and taken to hospital by ambulance in nearby Borgo San Lorenzo for tests, scans revealed no head or neck injuries to the 13 year old Italian. He may have cracked is right upper arm and have injured his left thumb but it would seem at this stage that these injuries, if confirmed, would probably not prevent him from riding in the next round at Donington Park in 2 weeks.