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Martin robs Hanika of victory in Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup

Martin robs Hanika of victory in Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup

Jorge Martin stole victory from Karel Hanika at the final corner to take the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup opening race at the Spanish Grand Prix in Jerez.

The 15-year-old Spaniard judged his move up the inside on the brakes perfectly and the 17-year-old Czech had no reply as they raced across the line to complete 16 electrifying laps.

Third was 15-year-old Italian Enea Bastianini, a first year Rookie, who trailed the leading pair throughout the second half of the race well ahead of an intense, six-man battle for fourth. It was 15-year-old Spaniard Diego Perez who got that verdict on the line ahead of Stefano Manzi, the 14-year-old Italian and Turkish 16-year-old Toprak Razgatlıoğlu. Joe Roberts, the 15-year-old American and British 15-year-old Bradley Ray, winner of Race 1 in Austin, completed the pack by finishing seventh and eighth.

The front row hunted

For once the race followed practice and qualifying as Hanika, Martin and Bastianini made up the front row. The result was anything but a forgone conclusion, though, because while all three got away well they were set upon by the chasing pack.

That hunt included Manuel Pagliani, the 16-year-old Italian who had featured so strongly in both races in Austin. But he would crash out on Lap 14 when he clipped the rear of Razgatlıoğlu's machine, misjudging the braking. Hanika and Martin showed their class by both smashing the lap record as they managed to break away from the group.

There was also a less serious coming together between Hanika and Martin as they raced wheel-to-wheel at the head of the field; they both went for the same piece of road, they got away with it and raced on, by then well clear of Bastianini and the rest.

Hanika explains

“It was a fantastic race. I did make that mistake and we touched,” admitted Hanika, who was visibly down about the result. “Otherwise I was comfortable doing most of the leading. Actually I didn't watch what was happening behind me - over the last laps I didn't want to be distracted. I just rode my own race. Congratulations to Jorge on winning, there is still tomorrow's race and I want it to be at least as good.”

Martin was so thrilled with victory he could barely breath as he took his helmet off. “Just incredible...a great first time on the podium in Rookies first win.” He caught his breath. “I was riding with Karel and over the last few laps, I knew I could pass him but I was rolling off the throttle and just waiting. I only wanted to pass him at the last corner...and it worked,” he concluded, punching the air.

Though he wasn't in the fight for the win, Bastianini was naturally happy to be on the podium so early in his first Rookies Cup season:

“It was a fun race, I enjoyed racing up the front with the others. I was just having a bit of a problem with the bike on the brakes; it was unstable turning in, so I couldn't race for the win this time. Tomorrow I will though,” he added with his usual broad grin.

Olly Simpson, the 15-year-old Australian, crashed at the start and was taken to hospital with suspected arm injuries.


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