Rookies: Assen, Race 1 – Gagne’s Shock Win
Jake Gagne, the 16 year old Californian, found his form and won another stunning Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup race after a 12 man lead battle that was only decided over the last 2 corners. He was chased home by podium newcomers, Kevin Calia, the 15 year old Italian and Italian/Nigerian 15 year year old Alessio Cappella.
Pole man and points leader Daijiro Hiura extended his lead thanks to a hard fought 5th while his main Cup rivals Daniel Ruiz and Danny Kent finished 8th and 11th respectively.
All were in that lead pack with a chance to win but only Gagne put in the perfect finish. “I was in the group, it was pretty hard and there was no point in trying to lead early on, no one was getting away. About 5 laps to go I started to push forward, I didn’t want to be too far back when it came to the end. Then one the last lap I got the perfect slipstream into the lead and just had it pinned through the last left down to the chicane.”
Others have done that before only to be deposed on the brakes at the final corners. “I was pretty confident that I was quick through that last corner, if I could lead down to it I was pretty sure I could win as long as I didn’t make a mistake. I was deep on the brakes but it worked out OK,” concluded Gagne who leaps to 4th in the Cup points.
Calia and Cappella had never featured in a lead battle anything like as strongly but both did a superb job and traded the lead between them for most of the race. Calia looked particularly smooth as he took the lead from fast starting Swede Alex Kristiansson. Calia settled into a great rhythm and though overtaken always seemed to be able to get back in front. “I felt confident on the bike, I was enjoying it and it wasn’t a problem to lead. The only problem I had was the seagull in the track on the last lap, I so nearly hit it, I had to swerve and lost a lot of places. After that I am just happy to be on the podium, 2nd is great but I want to do one better tomorrow.”
Cappella also enjoyed the race and his first podium visit. Time and time again he passed others on the inside going into corners, sometimes 2 or 3 at once, particularly the tight, 1st gear left leading to the back straight. “That’s my favourite corner and I can just pass people there quite easily, sometimes I have to slip the clutch but it always works well. Just at the end of the race I feel my size doesn’t help when it gets rough, I lose out. So I am happy with 3rd and I want to do at least the same tomorrow.”
Harry Stafford was another who was right in the hunt and came home 4th. “I was right there and I thought about trying to win it on the brakes to the last chicane but there was a whole group of us and it was too risky, too much chance of crashing and taking other guys out. It was a rough race but a lot of fun and I can’t wait for tomorrow,” added the 16 year old Briton.
Hiura had made a poor start from pole. “My reaction time was OK but the clutch was slipping too much as I got off the line, then I made a few mistakes so after 3 laps I was about 8th. I worked hard to catch up and got to the front,” explained the 15 year old Japanese who looked in with a chance of the win going onto the last lap. “I made a mistake though at the right handers that turn back towards the finish, I lost the chance to win. Tomorrow I have to try and break away,” concluded Hiura who’s pole time was almost half a second quicker than anyone else.
Just behind Hiura at the flag was 15 year old Australian Arthur Sissis in 6th. “That was a lot of fun, I was near the back of the group for most of the race but towards the end some of the others started making mistakes so I started passing them.”
Those mistakes included the coming together of Danny Kent and Alex Kristiansson, ruining the race for the Swede who had been battling with Cappella and Calia for top spot over most of the distance but finished 10th with Kent 11th. “Danny and I collided and we both went off the track so that’s why I was not in the fight on the last lap,” explained Kristiansson.
The second Rookies race of the weekend, race 5 of the 10 that make up the Cup, starts at 15.40 CET on Saturday and can be seen on TV in some 30 countries and on redbull.com everywhere.
Here’s the results in full…
# RIDER NAT. GAP TOTAL TIME
1 Jacob GAGNE USA 29’10.553 (149.449 Km/h)
2 Kevin CALIA ITA 0.078 29’10.631 (149.442 Km/h)
3 Alessio CAPPELLA NGR 0.124 29’10.677 (149.438 Km/h)
4 Harry STAFFORD GBR 0.296 29’10.849 (149.424 Km/h)
5 Daijiro HIURA JPN 0.371 29’10.924 (149.417 Km/h)
6 Arthur SISSIS AUS 0.497 29’11.050 (149.407 Km/h)
7 Brad BINDER RSA 0.723 29’11.276 (149.387 Km/h)
8 Daniel RUIZ ESP 0.887 29’11.440 (149.373 Km/h)
9 Taylor MACKENZIE GBR 1.091 29’11.644 (149.356 Km/h)
10 Alexander KRISTIANSSON SWE 2.460 29’13.013 (149.239 Km/h)
11 Danny KENT GBR 3.724 29’14.277 (149.132 Km/h)
12 Xavier PINSACH ESP 20.370 29’30.923 (147.730 Km/h)
13 Philipp OETTL GER 20.655 29’31.208 (147.706 Km/h)
14 Antonio CHIARI BRA 20.913 29’31.466 (147.685 Km/h)
15 Niccolo ANTONELLI ITA 20.920 29’31.473 (147.684 Km/h)
16 Joshua HOOK AUS 21.243 29’31.796 (147.657 Km/h)
17 James FLITCROFT GBR 39.475 29’50.028 (146.153 Km/h)
18 Tomas VAVROUS CZE 1 lap 27’41.209 (147.644Km/h)
19 Alejandro PARDO ITA 7 laps 16’29.859 (148.668 Km/h)
20 Xavier FIGUERAS ESP 12 laps 7’33.289 (144.289 Km/h)
21 Florian ALT GER 15 laps 2’15.121 (121.011 Km/h)
22 Deni CUDIC AUT out lap 1
Pole Position: Daijiro HIURA 1’47.375 (152.281 Km/h)
Fastest Lap: Kevin CALIA Lap 16 1’47.780 (151.709 Km/h)
Circuit Record Lap: New circuit
Circuit Best Lap: Daijiro HIURA 2010 1’47.375 (152.281 Km/h)