MotoGP Rookies Cup race Donington (photo gallary)
For the second time in 8 days Jakub Kornfeil produced a perfect victory and with Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup rival Sturla Fagerhaug crashing out again the 16 year old Czech goes into his home race tied on points with the 17 year old Norwegian. Spanish 17 year old Daniel Ruiz rode a great race to second in Britain ahead of 14 year old Japanese Daijiro Hiura who also put himself into Cup contention. Hiura is 18 points behind Kornfeil and Fagerhaug with 50 points at stake for the double header that wraps up the season. The top 7 riders in the Cup can still win it.
While Kornfeil matched his German wet weather disappearing act with an almost identical performance in glorious sunshine at Donington the entertainment was provided by an incredible battle for second. As Pole man Danny Kent faded through the pack to finish an eventual 8th it was the two Frenchman Florian Marino and Nelson Major who bashed elbows in second allowing Jake Gagne, Mathew Scholtz, Hiura and Ruiz to close and make it a 6 man battle for second.
Just as he did at the Sachsenring, Kornfeil reeled off perfect laps and soon had a 3 second lead while those behind slowed each other with the line-steeling and out-braking. As things settled down slightly there were many laps when Kornfeil was not the quickest man on the track but as the pursuers swapped that advantage between them they lost ground as a group.
The situation was only reversed when Ruiz pushed his way into second and broke away. That was lap 12 of 17 though and by then the story was written. Kornfeil had more than 3 seconds in hand and though Ruiz took a few tenths out of him every lap the Czech just kept his head and enough of an advantage to cross the line 2.4 seconds ahead.
"It was almost a perfect race for me but not easy." said Kornfeil. "From the start I was happy to see that once I got ahead my lead was getting bigger and bigger but I wasn’t happy in the middle of the race when they started closing again. I just couldn’t do the lap-time I wanted. There was nothing wrong with the tyres or the bike it was just in my head I think. Still I am happy with the win and I am happy that the last races are in Brno."
Ruiz has been frustrated so often this year but finally things worked out as he raced through from 20th place on the grid. "I think I was just so relaxed because I didn’t expect anything from this race. I really enjoyed it though and as I was passing the other guys I just felt comfortable. I was happy to get away from the group into a clear second but by then Jakub was just too far in front."
Hiura remains frustrated even though he made the rostrum for the 4th time. "I am still not winning so I can’t be happy. I am going to have to do that in Brno."
It was Jake Gagne who looked as though he was set for his third podium in as many races as the 15 year old Californian was the first to break free of that second place battle. That was mid race but the advantage only lasted a couple of corners. "I’d been a bit frustrated by all the crazy overtaking moves in the group so I was happy to get out front. Trouble was I then ran over the kerb and got a bit loose. That put me back and I think I then tried a bit too hard, made some mistakes and couldn’t get in front again."
There were some pretty ‘interesting’ moves in that pack. Hiura and Marino tried for the same piece of track at the right-hand hairpin and both were lucky to remain upright. It was getting clear of that kind of action that gave Ruiz 2nd place.
For Fagerhaug, who seemed to already have one hand on the Cup, Donington was a race to forget as he crashed out on lap 3. "I went onto the back straight too tight, close to the kerb, the front wheel jumped up and I lost the front. It’s a shame because I didn’t go into the corner too fast, I just pulled a tight line to get a good drive out and I crashed as I hit the bump. In Brno… I’m not going to crash again. I love that track, hopefully it’s going to be a good one."