Karel Hanika chased down Livio Loi to take the lead on the last of the 14 laps of Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup Race 1 action at Brno. The 16 year old Czech and Loi, the 15 year old Belgian wrestled back and fourth through the final corners with Loi leading into the final section only to have local hero Hanika win the change of direction into the last right hander and across the line.
Loi had been fast from the start of the weekend, was quickest in the free practice and lined up 6th on the grid. He was even quicker when the lights went out and cut his way forward to take over the lead from Cup leader Florian Alt on lap 3. The 16 year old German gave chase but had no answer as Loi reeled off perfect lap after lap.
Loi and Alt pulled clear of the chasing pack even though Hanika was soon 3rd and had his head down in pursuit. “I didn’t make such a great start,” said pole man Hanika. “Livio and Flo got away and I couldn’t catch them. I really thought that winning was impossible then. I just did what I could to chase Florian, I wouldn’t give up.”
“I just kept pushing all the way and just at the end I caught them. My bike was working great, I didn’t have any big problem with the tyres but of course by the end the rear was past its best and I had a slide coming through the last corner before starting the last lap. That cost me with the gap to Livio and I had to catch him again. It was a great battle with him through the last few corners and just so fantastic to win.”
Loi was still grinning even though he was robbed at the end. “It was a great race and at the end I thought I had a bit more of a lead than I did and I was surprised when Karel came past. In the last 2 laps there were rain drops on the visor and of course we didn’t know how hard it was raining on which part of the track.”
“I fought back and I thought I had the speed to win through the last corners but Karel just took it. Still it was a great race and I want to do the same or better tomorrow,” he concluded with that wonderful grin that he has carried most of the year even though this is his first top 6 result. Even when things have been difficult he has kept trying and has made the hard work pay off.
Alt had no reason to be too disappointed with 3rd, his nearest challengers for the Cup, Scot Deroue and Philippe Oettl, were at the head of the intense pack fighting for 4th but both had a disastrous last lap and finished 9th and 10th. Alt thus extended his points advantage, “I enjoyed the race, I got the lead early but when Livio came past he was going very quick. I chased after him, got close but I couldn’t try to pass him without taking big risks.”
“At the end it started to rain and I certainly didn’t want to do anything silly. When Karel came past I tried to fight back but I also knew that Scott and Philipp were behind so there was no need to be crazy,” concluded Alt who goes into the final 4 races with 173 point leaving Deroue on 155 and Oettl 140.
Oettl and Deroue went onto the last lap 5th and 8th, Deroue making his usual end of race charge but it was an intense, 8 man battle for those places and those 2 did not fair well. It was 14 year old Spaniard Marcos Ramirez who flashed across the line 4th, rubbing elbows with 16 year old Austrian Lukas Trautmann and Jorge Martin the other 14 year old Spaniard.
15 year old Frenchman Simon Danilo crashed on the last lap of the race. As a precaution he has been taken to the hospital in Brno for further checks.
Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup Brno Race 1 Results 2012:
1.Karel Hanika (KTM)
2.Livio Loi (KTM)
3.Florian Alt (KTM)
4.Marcos Ramirez (KTM)
5.Lukas Trautmann (KTM)
6.Jorge Martin (KTM)
7.Bradley Ray (KTM)
8.Lorenzo Baldassarri (KTM)
9.Scott Deroue (KTM)
10.Philipp Oettl (KTM)
11.Joe Roberts (KTM)
12.Diego Perez (KTM)
13.Willi Albert (KTM)
14.Hafiq Azmi (KTM)
15.Yui Watanabe (KTM)
The 15 year old Belgian won by almost 6 seconds and it would have been more had the race not been red flagged with 10 of the 14 laps complete. Heading the fierce pack behind, American 15 year old Joe Roberts took 2nd just ahead of Italian 13 year old Stefano Manzi.
It was a dramatic event from the beginning, Cup leader Florian Alt did not get a great start from the middle of the front row and it was the 14 year old Spaniards Jorge Martin and Marcos Ramirez who had qualified 3rd and 4th who got the jump.
Saturday’s winner Karel Hanika, the 16 year old Czech, crashed out on the 1st lap when he got onto the astroturf edging the track in the stadium section, it was wet from rain early in the day and offered no grip. He crashed hard but got up and remounted to finish 16th.
From there it was the usual intense Rookies Cup battle, very different to Saturday’s race where Loi and Alt had opened up an early advantage. This time it was 3 or 4 abreast for much of the lap and no one could get clear. Loi was in the midst of it but looking very cool while those around him thrashed it out.
Alt hit the front but could not get away from the pack, as far as Cup points are concerned a crucial fact was that Philipp Oettl did not make the start. The 16 year old German, 3rd in the points coming into the weekend, finished Race 1 exhausted and was running a high temperature through into Sunday, he was advised not to race.
Scott Deroue, 2nd in the points chase, had only finished 9th in Race 1 but was optimistic of better after raising the rear of the bike in the hope that it would stop the bike running wide, his major problem from Saturday. It seemed to be working as he was right in the midst of the lead pack but on lap 9 he crashed out in spectacular style and looked fortunate to walk away unscathed.
So Alt was gifted a further points advantage as long as he crossed the finish line. He did not know that Deroue had fallen behind him so he pressed on. Loi had taken the lead on lap 6 and did so at such a pace that no one had any kind of response. He romped away in a most un-Rookies Cup like fashion.
“I didn’t make a great start,” explained Loi who set off from 6th on the grid. “I felt good though, I was confident from yesterday and I just had to work my way up to the front. I knew I could go faster than the pack. I got in front and just kept pushing, it didn’t seem too hard and I wanted to make sure it didn’t happen like yesterday. It’s brilliant to win, I’m so happy.”
The race was red flagged when Jorge Martin and Willi Albert crashed as Albert needed attention at the track side. Roberts had been 2nd across the line on the previous lap and took that place on the podium. “I think that was the most intense race I’ve ever been in,” he said. “We were rubbing elbows everywhere, it was incredible, so much fun. This year has been tough but we’ve been working at getting the bike sorted and that paid off today,” concluded the lap record holder who’s time was not quite matched by Loi.
Manzi was equally thrilled with his 3rd. “It was a great race, absolutely fantastic. I got a good start and was 7th into the 1st corner, I was in the pack and fighting with everyone else, we were having a great time and I am so happy to be on the podium again,” said the tiny Italian who was 2nd in Race 2 at the Sachsenring.
Jorge Martin broke his left collarbone and bones in his right hand in the crash that brought out the red flag. Willi Albert was concussed in the same incident and complained of pain in his right shoulder so has been taken to hospital for further checks.
Simon Danilo, the 15 year old Frenchman who crashed on the last lap of Saturday’s race was air lifted to the Brno Hospital where he underwent an operation that evening to stabilise vertebra 8 and 9. He had broken his leg and arm and these were also operated on. He has neurological injuries and the prognosis is not immediately clear. The thoughts of everyone in the Rookies Cup, his friends, fellow racers and fans are with him.
Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup Brno Race 2 Results 2012:
1. Livio Loi (KTM)
2. Joe Roberts (KTM)
3. Stefano Manzi (KTM)
4. Florian Alt (KTM)
5. Lukas Trautmann (KTM)
6. Lorenzo Baldassarri (KTM)
7. Bradley Ray (KTM)
8. Ivo Lopes (KTM)
9. Hafiq Azmi (KTM)
10. Diego Perez (KTM)
11. Yui Watanabe (KTM)
12. Marcos Ramierz (KTM)
13. Aaron Espana (KTM)
14. Jordan Weaving (KTM)
15. Tarran Mackenzie (KTM)