Sissis takes victory in second race with splendid last corner move
Arthur Sissis, the 16-year-old Australian turned the tables on 14-year-old Italian Lorenzo Baldassarri with a fine last corner to claim his third victory in this year’s Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup. Florian Alt, the 15-year-old German, took thirrd as typical Assen weather once again played a part in the result of the Dutch TT round.
Looming black clouds and a sprinkling of rain prompted a start on wet tyres, although the track was only damp. Pole man James Flitcroft shot into an early lead, but from the fourth row of the grid Sissis was up the inside and into second place at the first corner. Baldassarri was there too and both had passed 15-year-old Flitcroft before the end of the first lap.
The rain held off and the drying track soon started to shred the riders’ tyres as Flitcroft caught up with Baldassarri and Sissis, pulling away from the pack. The pace was getting quicker and quicker as both the drying track and the riders got used to the grip limits of rain tyres.
Flitcroft soon fell back and was joined by a host of other riders in an eight-man battle for fourth. Coming through that pack from his 18th-place start was Florian Alt. His progress was stunning and he eventually broke clear of the pack on lap five and set his sights on Flitcroft. He became the fastest man on the track, shooting past Flitcroft on lap seven. Even though he was four seconds behind the leaders he was running a pace that, carried on, would see him battling for the lead before the end of the 14-lap race.
By lap 10 he was with Sissis and Baldassarri and his speed carried him straight past them and into the lead. That was the end of the faster laps as the riders’ tyres shredded. Sissis and Baldassarri responded to Alt’s attack and got back in front of the young German. By the final lap the Australian and the Italian had enough of an advantage to ensure it was a fight between just the two of them for first-place.
‘My heart was racing so much on the last lap,’ said Sissis. ‘It was such a great race. I’d tried to get away but Lorenzo was always there and after about four laps the tyres were shredded. Then I couldn’t believe it when Alt passed us both and that made it more complicated. We got away from him but I knew Lorenzo was the big problem. He was in front on the last lap. I’d got it wrong yesterday so I went the other side and passed him on the brakes going down to the chicane. I didn’t know if the front was going to hold up on the brakes and my heart stopped going into the last corner’.
The front did hold up but the rear slid and that sealed the win for Sissis as Baldassarri was forced to back off fractionally as Sissis had a small slide right in front of him. Alt was a superb third and was thrilled by his first podium finish. ‘I really had great confidence in the tyres in these conditions and I thought I could do a great race. It was hard work to come from 18th but when I got away from the pack and could see the leaders, I just went for it’.
‘I had used the tyres so hard catching them that they were completely destroyed by the end,’ explained Alt. ‘The bike was sliding so much I realised that third was a good result and better than crashing trying too hard on the last lap’.
Baldassarri, as usual, made no excuses. ‘It was another great race, a lot of fun. I was in front on the last lap but Sissis was later on the brakes coming down to the last corner, he did a great job. Still, I enjoyed this weekend and I am looking forward to my home race at Mugello next week’.
The race ended in disaster for Flitcroft at the final turn as he lost his front on the brakes, taking out Brad Binder and Joakim Niemi from the middle of that fourth-place pack. It was Alan Techer who took it from Xavi Pinsach, Tomas Vavrous, Scott Deroue and Stefano Valtulini.
Sissis now has a five-point advantage over Baldassarri with six races remaining. There is a single Rookies Cup race at the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello in a week’s time on Saturday June 2nd at 16.30 CET.
Race 2 Classification
1. Arthur Sissis (AUS) 27 minutes 05.184 seconds
2. Lorenzo Baldassarri (ITA) +0.222
3. Florian Alt (GER) +1.425
4. Alan Techer (FRA) +7.081
5. Xavier Pinsach (ESP) +7.393
6. Tomas Vavrous (CZE) Red +7.609
7. Scott Deroue (NED) +05 8.703
8. Stefano Valtulini (ITA) +8.959
9. Philipp Oettl (GER) +10.542
10. Andrea Migno (ITA) +18.203
Source: Red Bull Rookies Cup