Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup
Philipp Oettl won the first Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup race of the season with a brilliant out-braking move on Brad Binder with one and a half laps remaining on Saturday at Jerez in Southern Spain.
The 14-year-old German was super smooth throughout the 16 laps and chased down early leader Binder even though the 15-year-old South African also put in an almost perfect performance.
Oettl did not make a great start from second place on the grid and while pole position man Binder shot away into the lead ahead of 14-year-old Italian Lorenzo Baldassarri and 16 year old Frenchman Alan Techer. Oettl completed the first lap in fifth place behind 15 year old Australian Arthur Sissis.
Binder paced himself well and had soon opened up a lead of almost a second over his rivals. Sissis so nearly crashed on lap two as he charged into second and chased Binder through the fast right hander coming back to the start and finish.
His skill on the dirt saved the day and he fought for control in a long run through the gravel trap that dropped him to 10th. A couple of shaky laps followed and he dropped to 11th before beginning a climb back.
Oettl was up to third by the end of lap two and then passed Techer to take second. The Frenchman tucked in behind and also pulled Baldassarri clear of the rest of the pack.
Philipp Oetti says: “It wasn’t a great start. I had to work hard in the opening laps to get back up into second but then I was happy and I could find a good rhythm. I just kept going as fast as I could without making any mistakes and the bike was working very well so I felt good about catching Brad.
“As I caught him I was thinking that I would have to pass him on the brakes into the last corner but then I had the chance at the end of the back straight and I took it.”
The German’s pace had been 1.5 seconds quicker than the lap that put him second on the grid and even though Binder also bettered his pole time by over 1.2 seconds it wasn’t enough.
Brad Binder says: “It was a quick pace, I was trying so hard and the bike started moving around a lot.
“It was really sliding and getting worse as the race went on, I just couldn’t go any quicker. I know Philipp was coming and when he got alongside me at the end of the straight I though I could still get around on the brakes but he just moved me over and I had to go straight on. That was it. We’ll try some changes for tomorrow’s race and I’ll have a go at winning it.”
The pace run by Oettl and Binder was too much for the followers but Techer and Baldassarri both kept good rhythm in what became lonely rides for both of them.
Alan Techer says: “I enjoyed the race. It was really a lot of fun and I was so happy to get on the podium. I couldn’t go any faster because the bike was moving around a lot and I just had to be a little careful, we should change it a little for tomorrow.”
The Frenchman’s experience was very similar to Baldassarri’s.
Lorenzo Baldassarri says: “It was a great race, I made a fast start and really enjoyed the battle at the front. It was a fast pace though and when the others came past and we went quicker I found that the bike set up was not good enough.
“The back I think was too soft because we were going so much faster than in practice but I have talked with the technicians and they have some suggestions that should make it better for tomorrow. Still for my first Rookies race I am very happy.”
A lonely fifth was Florian Alt.
Florian Alt says: “It wasn’t a perfect start and by the time I got ahead of Xavi Pinsach and into fifth the others were lapping very fast and I could not go with them. I have to work on my speed through the fast corners because that is where I seem to be loosing out to them.”
The 14-year-old German still crossed the line two seconds clear of Sissis who had made up a lot of places after his off track excursion.
Florian Alt says: “I was going after Brad and I came through those fast right handers tucked in instead of hanging off and the bike just slid. I thought it was all over but I managed to stay on it. I was lapping a lot faster than in practice so the bike wasn’t right. We’ll change it for tomorrow and I want to be on the podium.”