Sissis does it again and takes close victory in last lap, Espana third
Arthur Sissis won the 9th race of the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup season at Mugello on Saturday to extend his points lead to 17 over Lorenzo Baldassarri who finished 4th. Australian 16 year old Sissis had to fight all the way to the line, holding off 18 year old Czech Tomas Vavrous and 13 year old Spaniard Aaron Espana.
“That was such a fun race,” said Sissis. “The tyres were pretty destroyed and the bike was sliding around a lot but that was the same for everyone. I only had one really scary moment. I had tried to get away at the start but the others came with me and we had a great race. My bike was running so well and I enjoyed it, it was one of the best races we have had. The most important thing for me was finishing in front of Lorenzo, that’s what I had to do.”
The race began after rain that left much of the track damp and the decision was made to use rain tyres. Baldassarri, the 14 year old Italian, started back in 11th place on the grid on the 4th row but was soon working his way forward into the lead battle. Sissis had hit the front from a great start, from the 2nd row and was leading from the first corner. He could never get clear though with Vavrous, Espana and Baldassarri going with him and opening up an advantage on the pack.
The quartet changed place at almost every corner but very quickly the track became completely dry and the tyres started to degrade. The man most at home in these conditions a week ago in Assen had been Florian Alt, the 15 year old German and just as he did then he charged through the pack, this time towing with him 15 year old Spaniard Xavi Pinsach. They caught the lead group and made it a 6 man fight for the closing laps.
Espana was sensational on the brakes at the end of the start and finish straight and through the climbing right handers at the opposite end of the circuit. Several times he grabbed the lead but could not hold onto it, he was swamped on the start and finish straight as the others picked up his slipstream. “It was a fun race,” said Espana. “Not easy because Tomas, Arthur and Lorenzo are so fast. I enjoyed passing them in some places though. I think I did a good job of it.”
Vavrous has made too many mistakes this year but this time his ride was faultless, he defended his position strongly throughout and when it came to the final corner was perfectly placed to pick up second. “Aaron was not so good out of the last corner,” said Vavrous. “I had the better line and could pick up the slipstream and got past. It was a really great race and a lot of fun. Arthur’s bike was working very well and I had a lot of trouble getting past him but at last I have got a good result and I can look forward to the rest of the season.”
Alt’s brilliant charge through the field had been at the expense of his tyres and neither he or Pinsach were able to challenge for the podium on the final lap. Incredibly they were caught and passed by Philipp Oettl who had set the fastest lap of the race on lap 11 of the 13, an absolutely sensational performance considering the rain tyre degradation in the dry. He capitalised on that effort by taking 5th on the last lap.
Off the podium for the first time in 4 races Baldassarri explained that the last corner cost him. “I thought I had the chance to be on the podium but going into the last left hander I was right behind Aaron and he braked too early. I had to brake and Tomas was on a different line and got past. It was a fun race and I did OK in the early laps but then the tyres were gone and it wasn’t easy.”
Baldassarri now trails Sissis by 17 points but there are 5 races remaining in the Cup. The first of those are at the Sachsenring in 2 weeks time. Saturday July 16th and Sunday the 17th.
1. Arthur Sissis (AUS) 28 minutes 59.931 seconds
2. Tomas Vavrous (CZE) +0.211
3. Aaron Espana (ESP) +0.259
4. Lorenzo Baldassarri (ITA) +0.297
5. Philipp Oettl (GER) +1.286
6. Florian Alt (GER) +1.435
7. Xavier Pinsach (ESP) +1.456
8. Alan Techer (FRA) +4.763
9. Javier Orellana (GBR) +12.642
10. Brad Binder (RSA) +12.695
Source: Red Bull Rookies Cup