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Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup: Hanika narrowly wins Race 1

Karel Hanika had to fight off nine riders to win Race 1 at Silverstone, his sixth victory this season in the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup.

The British GP weekend started perfectly for the 17-year-old Czech, who set off from pole position, but none of his wins have been easy and this was no exception. Though it was Spanish 15-year-olds Diego Perez and Marcos Ramirez who finally joined him on the podium, they had not looked his greatest threat. It was another pair of Spanish - 15-year-olds Joan Mir and Hanika's nearest Cup challenger Jorge Martín - who both led at various stages and gave Hanika the hardest time.

Pagliani, Roberts, Deroue: all leaders

They weren't the only ones. 17-year-old Italian Manuel Pagliani featured strongly at the head of the field, as he had done a week ago at Brno; and this time Dutch 17-year-old Scott Deroue made a return to the front even though he had only qualified 13th. Another charger was 16-year-old American Joe Roberts, who cut through fast in the early laps, from 11th on the grid to lead, taking the lap record with him.

Unfortunately Roberts slid off and out of the race and it was another crash that finally dictated the result as the chasing pack elbowed each other for a chance to wrest the win from Hanika with just a couple of corners to go. Perez went under Deroue, who moved over into Martín, with Deroue and Martín falling without serious injury. Perez therefore picked up second.

No easy victory for Hanika

"It was a very tough race again," he said. "The guys were riding really well and I just I couldn't get away in the front, so I decided just to stay in the lead group and wait for the last lap. Then I just went as fast as I could and defended. I didn't know how many were behind but I knew it was quite a group, just great that it worked out.

"The bike was good. We had made some changes after qualifying because there I was having a bit of trouble with rear sliding; that was cured for the race, but then I was in a bit in trouble with the front. I am not sure why, but I am sure that Santi (suspension engineer) will have an answer for Race 2."

Perez and Ramirez change their fortunes

Perez was thrilled to take second, his first podium in a difficult second season for the man from Palma de Mallorca. "The bike was great," he said. "I didn't have a good start, I had a lot of work to do and we had a hard fight in the second group but managed to catch the leaders at the end. It was so close on the last lap then Scott and Jorge went down."

Ramirez, who leads the Spanish Moto3 championship, is also in his second Rookies Cup season and it has not gone the way he wanted so far, with just a single third place up to this point. "I really enjoyed that, it was a very hard close race. So many riders fighting at every corner. Then towards the end the rear was sliding quite a lot and it was a real struggle to keep the pace up, but I hope I can do at least the same again tomorrow."

Ray of hope

British hero Bradley Ray, the 16-year-old who had qualified second fastest, was completely out of luck though he battled for the lead early on. "I caught a neutral as I changed down and just ran wide," he explained. "Then I was trying to catch up and had a big highside into Manzi."

Neither he nor the 14-year-old Italian were injured and all 23 Rookies, including Toprak Razgatlıoğlu who highsided early on, will be ready for Sunday's Race 2.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2013

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