Angel Piqueras was back to his winning ways on Sunday morning in Spielberg picking up his 10th Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup career win in superb style. The 16-year-old Spaniard stole 1st from Saturday’s victor Álvaro Carpe with Rico Salmela flashing across the line just behind for a double 3rd.
Even more intense than yesterday it was an 8 KTM battle for the lead. Max Quiles ran off track from the lead group early and went for a trip through the gravel that left him battling back from last to 8th.
Cormac Buchanan had his 2nd very competitive ride of the weekend, led briefly but slid off when the front end tucked at the chicane on lap 14.
“I’m happy to equal the wins total, in Misano I will try to be the best,” laughed the Cup winner after his 8th win of the season that matches Bo Bendsneyder’s score from 2015. Piqueras won 2 races last year so has now matched Karel Hanika’s total of 10 from 2012 & 13.This race was so fast, Salmela and Carpe were pushing a lot, I had to push hard also. We went for the taller gearing today, that helped when I had the slipstream, I needed that.On the last lap, I pushed, coming to the end I knew I really only had one chance, the last corner is not the place, I went for it the corner before and it worked.”
Carpe leading again
“The race was difficult, more difficult than yesterday,” explained the 16-year-old Spaniard. “All the riders were pushing more and our group at the front was bigger.”“I am really happy with the podium, the points for 2nd are so important for the championship. I’m the 2nd right now in the Rookies Cup and in a good position to hold that. It’s really important for me, for my mentality and for all my family.The feeling with the bike was good, not quite as good as yesterday, in Race 1 I was more comfortable and I think I was riding better. I like the bike though very much and I know that it meant nothing to change, I look forward to riding it again in Misano.On the last lap I knew that Angel would try to overtake me, he had said he wants to be the best Rookie ever. I thought he would try it at the last corner but he did it a corner before and there was nothing I could do,” he grinned.
Salmela smooth again
“It was a pretty good race, I had a good battle in the front group,” explained the 15-year-old Finn. “I don’t know why but I felt it was still a bit slippery on the rear tyre but I think it was more or less the same for everyone.I tried to push every lap, then with about 4 laps to go I made a small mistake. So then I had to gain a few positions. I was P4 on the last lap, I couldn’t find a way to make any clean overtakes on Ruda so I just decided to try to pass on the straight before the 2nd to last corner but he defended well.So I just had to get a good exit from the corner and I passed him in the last corner.It was a great weekend, pole and two podiums, of course, I’m happy with that even though I wanted the win.”
Marcos Ruda 4th after the 2nd great ride of the weekend
“Yes I’m happy with both races,” enthused the 18-year-old Spaniard. “I felt really good battling at the front, I am sorry that I didn’t make the podium because I really thought it was possible, especially today. The bike was great.Carpe and Piqueras were very fast but I did manage to get in front, even for a short time. On the last lap, I was there, going for the podium but Rico passed me right at the end.”
Ruche Moodley a strong ride to 5th
“It was a really fast race, the pace was very high,” explained the 16-year-old South African. “I was on the limit a lot so even to overtake was hard when the pace was faster than I was really comfortable with.It was a very good race for me though, I was understanding the front group a lot better, I’m starting to be more confident, racing at the front of the Rookies Cup. I’m a little bit disappointed not to be on the podium but I’ll try again in Misano.”
Cormac Buchanan hit the front
“It was great to lead my first Rookies Cup race in the dry,” enthused the 16-year-old New Zealander. “I made probably the best start of my career and that was a big help.It was weird because in the warm-up lap, the bike didn’t feel that great but I knew it was just because everything was cold, my body was cold and as the race went on I just kind of settled into a really fast rhythm and I was getting ready for the last 2 or 3 laps to try and get back to the front which I felt really comfortable doing. But unfortunately, just one mistake meant that I was down.