11 KTMs fought over every square centimetre of the Misano circuit from first corner to last before Álvaro Carpe stole the slightest advantage in the last half lap. Fellow 16-year-old Spaniard Angel Piqueras chased him across the line, pursued by 15-year-old arch-rival Max Quiles for an all red-and-yellow flagged podium.
The list of race leaders through the 15 laps included pole man Rico Salmela who stole the early advantage before being swallowed by the pack. Marcos Ruda had his turn in front as did Alberto Ferrandez, Quiles, Piqueras and Carpe.
Alvaro knew he could win: “Yes, it was a fantastic race, a fantastic weekend. The battle was really difficult, with all riders riding aggressive, me also because otherwise I would have dropped to the back of the group. I stayed in the front, that was good, trying to run my race at my pace and I am thrilled to secure second in the Cup in my Rookie year. I really appreciate everyone who supports me and gives me this opportunity. It was a harder race than I thought it would be after Qualifying, I thought it would be a small group of us. But it was a really big group, I think it will be the same tomorrow, I will try and win as always.”
No record number yet for Piqueras: “It was difficult, I was trying to do my pace but always someone wanted to overtake me. I have to be happy because it’s another podium and tomorrow we have another podium and I will do my best and try to win the race. The bike is OK for me. In my opinion, I was riding well. I felt I had more pace than the other riders but I couldn’t get clear. I will try to escape tomorrow,” concluded the Cup winner who is looking to be the most successful Rookie in the 17-year history of the series.
Max happy to be back on the podium: “Yes, that was a great race, I enjoyed it a lot. In the last lap, I did some good overtakes, got into a good position but not close enough to Carpe to catch the slipstream. Coming into the final corner Pini entered very wide, crashed, I almost touched the bike. I thought I would then be overtaken on the run to the line as I was very slow out of the final corner but it didn’t happen. I was very happy with that. I am happy to be back on the podium, I was frustrated in Qualifying, I was happy with the bike but just didn’t get a good lap in. I am happy with the bike and will not change it for tomorrow.”
Marcos Ruda fighting at the front: “Yes, that was a good race, but on the last lap a big problem,” explained the 18-year-old Spaniard who had to check his speed suddenly as Ferrandez fell ahead. Ruda was clipped from behind by Salmela but still managed to take 4th. That was a big shame because I had a good feeling in the race, I was confident on the bike and enjoying it. Now I have to look forward to the final race tomorrow and getting a good result. We will think about slightly changing the settings to see if we can find more grip.”
Ruche Moodley takes excellent 5th: “It was a really big group, I didn’t expect that,” explained the 16-year-old South African. “In the first laps, I made a lot of mistakes and dropped back to 11th. So I had to pass the guys one at a time and work my way forward again. There was a lot of contact and pushing. Hopefully tomorrow with the experience from today I can make a better race. In the fast corners, I was running a bit wide so I hope we can change something to hold a better line there.”
Rico Salmela falls on final lap: “I don’t know, I couldn’t ride normally. The bike was, like, OK I didn’t feel bad with the bike but there was just something, I couldn’t make any overtakes. I had good places to pass but just couldn’t make it, I don’t know, it just didn’t feel right today. In the last lap, I think was P6 or 7, I passed Ruche and Morelli. Then before the back straight, Ferrandez crashed, Ruda had to take the brake, I touched his rear tyre and I crashed. I will change the gearing for sure because, already before the first turn on the back straight the bike is hitting the limiter.”
Alberto Ferrandez didn’t make it to the line: “I am not very lucky today,” grinned the 16-year-old Spaniard. “When we arrived at the right-hander onto the back straight on the last lap, Piqueras passed me and Max arrived, touched Piqueras who stood up the bike, touched me and I crashed. But for the rest of the race, I feel very very good, with the tyres and suspension, I am ready for tomorrow. I don’t need to change the bike.”