Stealing the win from arch-rival Màximo Quiles on the brakes into the final chicane Angel Piqueras took his 7th win of the season, his 2nd of the weekend and enough points to secure the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup for 2023.
Again, the 16-year-old Spaniard had to fight for victory from first corner to last. Quiles, the 15-year-old Spaniard was determined to make amends for his Saturday fall and did much of the leading often swapping places with fellow countryman Álvaro Carpe who came into the race closest to Piqueras on points.
16-year-old Carpe had the front for most of the second half of the race but so intense was the lead battle that he crossed the line 6th.
It was Australian 18-year-old Jacob Roulstone who joined Piqueras and Quiles on the podium, getting the better of Casey O’Gorman and Alberto Ferrandez on the last lap.
Piqueras perfect but almost not:“Coming into the chicane on the last lap I thought that Carpe was behind me and I knew that I needed to finish in front of him to take the Cup. So I went as late as possible and passed Quiles.Then I caught neutral in the middle of the corner, I was in trouble, I got a gear and got the win but it nearly didn’t happen.I didn’t think the year would be like this when I injured myself in the off-season. I had to work very hard to be fit. I knew I could race for the win after last year but I didn’t know it would be possible to win so many races. It’s very special and very important for my career to win the Cup and unbelievable to do it like this.”
Quiles gave it everything:“I really enjoyed riding here in Assen, Race 2 was a very good race. On the last lap, I took a lot of risk to go first, I knew that on the back straight everyone would get the slipstream.Coming back to the finish, Piqueras took the slipstream to catch me. I braked as late as I possibly could, I covered a bit but when I saw he was coming past I let him go and tried to get the better run through the corner but the finish was too close and I couldn’t get him.Still, 2nd is good and I have to be happy with that.”
Roulstone racing wise:“I am super happy, it was a very tricky race, with the heat it was very tough. I was just trying to keep myself and the tyres a bit cool for the last lap. I was just moving out of the slipstream a bit where I could to catch some fresh air for myself and the tyres. I’m happy with the podium, happy with the way I rode and congratulations to Angel, he’s been amazing all season. For me, looking forward to the next races, keep the ball rolling.”
O’Gorman on the edge of another podium:“It was good, in the beginning, I was really struggling even to stay on the back of the group,” explained the 15-year-old Irishman. “The group kept pulling away but then they’d battle, slow themselves down and I’d catch up again. A few crashes helped me and then in the last lap I started at the back of the group, made 3 overtakes, into the last sector. I thought that Jacob went on the green in front of me so I thought there was no need to pass him. But he didn’t go on the green, my mistake.”
Ferrandez fighting for grip:”I made a good enough start and I push so hard but it was such a hot race, the track was hot, the tyres were hot and I slid the front so many times but managed to keep it up,” stated the 15-year-old Spaniard.I was also hot and it was also a tough race for the mind, push so hard, sliding so much, so much on the limit and keep pushing. Finally in the last corner, I braked too late and went across off track. I’m happy with my pace though and happy with the weekend.”
Carpe not in front when it mattered:“I was leading but you know, sometimes things just don’t finish the way you want. I finished 6th but I am still second in the Cup points, I’m really happy about that. Today’s race was a lot hotter than yesterday, there was again a lot of overtaking like yesterday and always in Rookies Cup. This time I couldn’t make the podium but I still want to say thanks to all the Rookies Cup staff and my family.”
Marco Morelli led the early laps: “The start was very good, I opened up a lead,” enthused the 15-year-old Argentine. “But then I made a very little mistake… and if you do a little mistake here the group catches you. But I’m happy with the race. At least I could show that I am fast. We now have a bit of a break and I am going to train very hard to come back in Austria to score a podium or even more in the last races.”
Guido Pini out of luck: “The second race crash was just bad luck, Moodley touched my back wheel,” explained the 15-year-old Italian. Not the best results, two falls but I still think it was one of the best weekends. The feeling with the bike was so good. In the 2nd race, there was a big gap from us to the front group but I got to the front of the 2nd group and closed right up to the front group and was fighting for at least a podium place or even the win. So I have a great feeling with the bike and I am looking forward to the next races.”