Red Bull MotoGP Rookies - Hanika wins season finale from Alt and Trautmann

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Karel Hanika won the final Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup race of the season after a superb race long tussle, crossing the Motorland Aragon finish line just ahead of Cup Champion Florian Alt and Saturday's winner Lukas Trautmann.

It was a fabulous way to end probably the final 2-stroke race at a Grand Prix with, as usual, up to 14 riders in the hunt for the lead through much of the race. Pole man Hanika got a great start but the 16 year old Czech never escaped the pressure of German 16 year old Alt and Austrian 16 year old Trautmann.

Alt had come from the 3rd row of the grid after only qualifying 9th in the rain but in the perfect, sunny conditions for the 2nd race of the weekend he was soon trading places with Hanika and Trautmann at the front.

Spanish 14 year old Marcos Ramirez was also in the lead battle having come from the middle of the front row as was 16 year old Japanese Yui Watanabe from 3rd on the grid. Those 5 opened up a slight lead during the 1st half of the race but it did not last.

Livio Loi, the 15 year old Belgian who had put in a stunning ride on Saturday only to retire from a handsome lead going onto the last lap due to an electrical failure was again about to make his presence felt. Loi and 14 year old Spaniard Jorge Martin were cutting their way through the pack and joined the lead 5 for the 2nd half of the race.

Chasing them was another pack including 16 year old Dutchman Scott Deroue and German 16 year old Philipp Oettl, both in the battle with Hanika for 2nd place in the Cup points. Suddenly Oettl was right there in the lead group, certainly with a shot at the podium and even possibly the win. Then he got out of position and lost about 5 places in half a lap, that was the intensity of the struggle.

When it came to the last lap it was Hanika, Alt and Trautmann who were best placed but only just. Down the back straight Hanika made his gearing revision from Saturday work perfectly and had the lead and the line going into the last sweeping left-hander. Coming out Alt also had great drive, pulled alongside Hanika but just couldn't get ahead as the pair towed Trautmann across the stripe.

"Such a tough race and so much fun," said Hanika. "I had a good start but then Lukas and Florian caught up and we had a great battle, also Yui, she was riding great, they all were, very fair and a fun battle. The change of gearing worked for me and at the end I just had it right on the limit, absolutely everything through the last corner and I didn't know if I would hang on to win."

Alt had also made changes from Saturday when the bike was running wide. "The handling was better, it was a great battle all the way and we had a lot of fun. I really went for the win and tried everything possible to get Karel on the run to the line but couldn't, it was a fantastic race to end such a great year, thanks to everyone."

Trautmann would have liked a 2nd win but 3rd was also OK. "On the rostrum again, a great way to end the season. We changed the bike a little from yesterday but it wasn't perfect and seemed to have lost a bit down the straight. Still it was a great race from everyone, I came together with Livio once and I am sorry for that but we were all pushing so hard."

Loi was unlucky for the 2nd time in the weekend, the touch with Trautmann resulting in a bent exhaust and a 2nd retirement. A tough end to the year for the Belgian but he has shown tremendous skill and class.

While some of this year's stars eye a future in Moto3 chasing the example set by ex Rookies such as Aragon Moto3 winner Luis Salom, others, like Loi, Trautmann and Hanika, will have more chances for victories in 2013 on the new 4-stroke KTM.

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