Angel Piqueras pushed his KTM to the limit for every one of the 15 laps of Assen with a hoard of identical machines taking any opportunity to overtake. The 16-year-old Spaniard never got clear, had to pass and repass but at the final chicane he was ahead and perfect.
Álvaro Carpe, the 16-year-old Spaniard flashed across the line 0.208 seconds back with Irish 15-year-old Casey O’Gorman just 0.048 further adrift.
Half a second covered the top 5 at the line but with 3 of his closest rivals, Màximo Quiles, Alberto Ferrandez and Rico Salmela all making mistakes, Piqueras could well clinch the title on Sunday.
Quiles stalled on the grid and started from pit lane only to slide off on the first lap.
Piqueras in front when it counts “On the first lap, I tried to make a break and get a gap. I thought that I should be able to get away from the group but finally, I didn’t.Anyway, I am really happy because this victory means a lot for the championship. The points are very good.
I will not change the bike, I ran the shorter gearing, it gives me the punch out of the corners even if I am hitting the limiter when I am in the slipstream.
On the last lap my strategy, my plan was just to push as hard as I could. That was all I could do.”
Carpe didn’t know it was over: I’m really happy with that, with second and it was a very exciting race. I didn’t know it was the last lap, I came out of the chicane, saw the flag and thought, what happened, it’s over! Still we had a great battle everyone was pushing so hard, so aggressive. It was a really hot race and I had a great time, thanks to everyone for supporting me. I am so happy with the bike, I really like the circuit and we can have another good race tomorrow.”
O’Gorman geared for toughest race: For sure this was the hardest race I’ve ever done because I was losing so much time out of turn 5 onto the back straight because I am running the tall gearing. I lost so much time, nearly every lap I lose a position on the straight.
But in the last laps, the final sector the fast sweepers the gearing was so good, everyone else was on the limiter and I could go past 3 people. So maybe the struggle out of 5 is worth it for the run to the last corners. In the last 5 laps, I came from the back of the group. I planned it quite well for the last lap. I was going to have a go at Piqueras for the win but he covered it so well, no way to do it. I’ll keep the gearing and have another go tomorrow.”
Jacob Roulstone takes 4th. : “Super happy, got an awesome start, set into a good rhythm, worked to the front, remembered to just relax, settled in, fell back to about 6th position,” explained the 18-year-old Australian. With about 4 laps to go I pushed on and on the last lap was right there, went to pass Casey into the last turn, felt the front not liking it too much so just relaxed and thought, ‘better 4th than no result’. I’m thinking of changing things slightly for tomorrow, a small issue in the front on the fast corners that I think we can improve. The rest is very good and I am looking forward to tomorrow.”
Ruche Moodley fights back to brilliant 6th:“At the start, Cormac took my position on the grid, which was 15,” stated the 16-year-old South African. I lined up next to him and hit him to tell him to move to P12. When the lights came on I was pushing my bike into position so I was quite stressed and jumped the start.So I had to do 2 long lap penalties, I think I was like 16th, then I pushed really hard, passed a lot of guys and got 6th I think. So happy to be back from injury.”
Alberto Ferrandez recovers to 11th:“A very very good race, I battled in the front group the whole race,” enthused the 15-year-old Spaniard. “Then, on the last lap, I felt the front slide, closed, I saved it, went straight and through the gravel. Saved it but I was back in the second group. Finally, I finished first in the 2nd group but I don’t know the position. I rode much better than in Qualifying, I enjoyed I feel good for tomorrow so I think I can have a good race, I feel strong and should battle at the front again.”
Marco Morelli remounts to 16th: A good race, I was a bit unlucky but the important thing is that I had a good battle and that is what I need to do because I have not been in such battles too much the other races this year,” explained the 15-year-old Argentine who featured well in the lead battle.
I then made a little mistake but the pace is good and I think I can do well tomorrow and get a good result. I am still trying to get the rear the way I want and will probably change again for tomorrow but I am loving the bike and the track.”
Rico Salmela learning and 20th: “I don’t know what to say, I didn’t get such a good start, then I tried to make up some positions and stay in a safe place,” explained the 15-year-old Finn.We did a few laps and then going onto the back straight I had contact with another rider and crashed. I got going again, I just wanted to make some laps and learn more about the track, get a good feeling with the bike for tomorrow.”