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A perfect pair of victories for Luis Salom at the first event of the 2008 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup season at Jerez in Spain left the opposition struggling.
A perfect pair of victories for Luis Salom at the first event of the 2008 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup season at Jerez in Spain left the opposition struggling. Matching the podium from Saturday's first race, the 16 year old Spaniard was joined by 16 year old American JD Beach and 14 year old Scot Deane Brown on the rostrum.
His Royal Highness King Juan Carlos of Spain had taken the time to meet all the riders and mechanics before the start making it a very special event for the teenagers. At the other end of the event it was ex 125 and 250 World Champion Dani Pedrosa who presented the winners trophy to Salom.
Though the winning margin for Sunday's 15 lapper was not quite the same as Saturday Salom was never headed and only troubled at all when he made an unforced error with a lap and a half to go. He clipped the grass, dramatically giving pursuer JD a hope that the race was not over. `I really cursed myself for that,´ said Salom after receiving the winner's trophy from Spanish Grand Prix MotoGP winner Pedrosa. `I just told myself to calm down and concentrate. Luckily I got away with it and of course I am thrilled with the two race wins.´
After tailing the Spaniard by almost 10 seconds in Saturday's race JD Beach was not going to allow that to happen again and chased hard. With him from lap one was 13 year old Japanese rider Daijiro Hiura and the trio soon opened up an advantage over a superb 4th place battle. An 8 rider contest was headed by Czech 14 year old Jakub Kornfeil and 15 year old Spaniard Daniel Ruiz.
Eventually Kornfeil and Ruiz, contesting only their second Rookie race, were overcome by the more experienced Brown and Fagerhaug who were making up for mediocre starts. It was a superb race long battle for 4th that became a contest for 3rd when Hiura slowed dramatically with a lap to go after losing the end of his gear-change lever. Hiura struggled over the line 5th behind Fagerhaug but ahead of 15 year old Frenchman Nelson Major.
Frustration for Hiura but all smiles for Beach who received the second place trophy from Spanish GP 250 winner, Red Bull KTM rider Mika Kallio. `That was a lot of fun,´ said Beach. `The bike was good and I really tried to stay with Salom. I didn't make such a good job of it yesterday and I really went into this race determined to do better. I thought I could do it but I just made a few small mistakes and he got away from me.´
`Then I just concentrated on putting together consistent laps all the way to the finish,´ said Beach who then got a real boost when Salom ran off the kerb and into the grass. `I came round the corner and there was this big cloud of dust and I realised what had happened. I tried to push then and see if I could get him but then I made a small mistake and realised it wasn't going to happen. I knew that 3rd place was quite a way back and settled for 2nd.´
`I've just got to sort those starts out,´ said third man Brown. `I made a mess of it again and gave myself a lot of work to do.´
Fagerhaug also cursed himself. `I've got to make better starts. Even more than that I lost a few places early on so I had a lot of hard work to catch up. It was working out OK with Deane, we got past a lot of guys and I had a plan to pass him at the last corner. It didn't work though because I lost a bit of ground to him through the fast corners and just wasn't close enough to make it all up on the brakes into the last corner.´
`It's not too bad, concluded the Norwegian. `Some good points from the first two races and the next race is Estoril and I'm looking forward to that very much.´
Fagerhaug was fastest in the final of the pre season tests there a week ago. The third of the 10 race season is at Estoril in Portugal on April 12th.
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