Red Bull Rookies: Di Giannantonio shaves victory off Sasaki in Aragon finale
Ayumu Sasaki and Fabio Di Giannantonio slithered through the final corner side by side but it was the 16-year-old Italian who had the verdict on the line by just 12 thousandths of a second over the 14-year-old Japanese to claim the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup finale for 2015.
It was a fitting end to the season, a battle for the lead that built to an eight man festival of skill and daring. Pole man Rory Skinner celebrated his 14th birthday with an excellent third matching his result from Saturday and scoring the only double podium of the weekend.
Di Giannantonio was naturally thrilled. “A perfect way to end the season, I don’t have words for it. I wasn’t happy with yesterday’s race, I made some mistakes and I knew I had to take a look at it. I watched the video and saw what I was doing wrong and where I could improve. I calmed myself down and made sure I did it all right today,” grinned the triple winner who also took four second places on his way to a clear second in the Cup table.
“It was such a great battle and I knew it would all come down to the last lap and slipstreaming down the last straight. I knew I had to be second and pass the leader into the last corner. It was so close but it worked perfectly,” he explained.
It was the fifth podium of the season for Sasaki but he wasn’t so thrilled. “It was another great race, I thought I had it won, we were side by side but I just missed,” explained Saturday’s fourth place finisher. “Still I did my best, we changed the front suspension a little after yesterday’s race and that helped.”
“It was a hard race all the way, I didn’t make a great start and had to fight to catch up. It is always hard in Rookies Cup. I have really enjoyed this year and I am already looking forward to next season.”
From pole position Skinner made another great start and determinedly hung on to the lead under great pressure from Olly Simpson, Marc Garcia and Raul Fernandez who would eventually finish fourth, fifth and sixth. That four man battle built to eight and Skinner ended up at the back of it.
“I made a couple of mistakes, one big one and I was right off the track,” explained Skinner who regained the circuit two seconds behind the leaders. “I thought I had ruined it then but I got my head down and soon started to see the gap closing. The back was sliding around quite a lot by the end of the race. That last sector had been good for me all weekend so I went for it on the last lap but the grip wasn’t quite there for me to catch those two.”
Rookies Cup winner Bo Bendsneyder escaped serious injury in Saturday’s nasty four bike accident but it affected his ride on Sunday. “I hurt my wrist, I didn’t think it would be a problem but it was just something torn but I couldn’t brake at all, I just did what I could,” explained the 16-year-old Dutchman.
Spanish 14-year-old Aleix Viu who bore the brunt of the accident explained to the Rookies Cup staff that he couldn’t wait to get back on the bike as soon as possible. He will recover from a pelvic fracture, foot and rib injuries.
In two week’s time the annual Selection Event will be staged to find inductees for the 10th season of the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup.
Source: Red Bull Rookies