Aleix Viu took his second Red Bull MotoGP Rookies win of the season and stole second place overall in the Cup from Can Öncü who slid off with two and a bit laps to go. A season of action was packed into the final 15 laps of 2017 with everyone having learnt to extract the maximum from the KTM RC 250 Rs.
Kazuki Masaki had already wrapped up the Cup with race victory on Saturday, just as well he did as today the 17-year-old Japanese couldn’t miss the sliding machine of fellow countryman Ai Ogura who crashed in front of him on lap 8. Though a lap behind, Masaki remounted and then set the fastest lap of the race on lap 11.
It had been 14 rider group chasing the podium places until the fallers and it was only over the last three laps that Viu managed to eke out an advantage, trying to close that, Can Öncü fell and Viu turned a one second advantage to more than two at the flag.
“I am very happy to end the year like that,” grinned Viu, the 16-year-old Spaniard. “I felt more confident on the bike than yesterday, the track had changed and there was more grip. I needed to make the break that I couldn’t do yesterday, it was my last Rookies Cup race and I gave everything.”
“When I got ahead I didn’t think about what was happening behind, I just pushed. The bike was great and I am so happy to end my time in the Rookies with another win, it’s been an incredible three years.”
The battle for second went all the way to the line with Adrián Carrasco snatching it ahead of Omar Bonoli, Ryusei Yamanaka and Filip Salač. “Wow, that was a great race,” panted Carrasco, the 15-year-old Spaniard. “It’s wonderful to end my first Cup season on the podium, it was a bit of a crazy race, a big group, riding so hard, a few crashes and I just went the maximum in the last laps.”
On the podium for the first time at the end of his three years in the Cup, 15-year-old Italian Bonoli was equally thrilled. “Yes, I had to finish on the podium. It was an incredible race, the bike was good, not perfect and it wanted to run wide but I was determined to do it. I waited in the group and then just rode my heart out on the last lap.”
Not surprisingly Masaki was still smiling. “Yes, I am glad I won the Cup yesterday, of course this can happen. I changed the bike for today, lifted the back a bit and it was better. I was very confident in the race, I really thought I could win but these things happen. I was determined to get back in the race if I could and happy to have the fastest lap.”
Can Öncü also managed a smile. “Aleix was the better rider today, he was very fast and he has second in the Cup. Nothing is over, I will be back next year and I want to win the Cup. It has been a fantastic year, I have to thank everyone involved in the Rookies Cup because I feel so much support and that is very important, it is a happy place to go racing.”
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