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Manzi dominates Misano race for first Rookies Cup win

Manzi dominates Misano race for first Rookies Cup win

Stefano Manzi won his first Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup race by totally dominating over 17 laps at Misano.

Joan Mir's third place behind Manuel Pagliani prevented Jorge Martin clinching the title but the fellow Spaniard crossed the line fifth and goes into the final two races with a healthy 44 point advantage.

It was Manzi's day, the 15-year-old Italian who has, for two years, been able to lead a Rookies Cup race on any lap but the last, this time lead every lap. So often embroiled in a six or eight man battle for the lead from which he emerged third on six occasions this year and once second, Manzi jumped from P9 on the grid, scythed through the pack and disappeared, opening up as much as a three second lead.

 “It is fantastic,” bubbled Manzi who extracted everything from his KTM RC 250 R. “Finally I won, and at my home race too. I just went for it from the start, I went as fast as I could and didn't slow up until right at the end. Just on the last lap I eased off, I wasn't going to make a silly mistake then. It is such a great feeling and I want to thank all of my family and friends who have supported me and it is so great to have them here to enjoy it.”

Left behind was fellow Italian Pagliani, the 18-year-old who had robbed him on the line at Misano twelve months ago. Pagliani was hounded by 17-year-old Mir who had elbowed points leader Martin aside early on, something that did not impress the 16-year-old Cup leader at all.

Mir was on a mission to keep his Cup hopes alive and that meant finishing in front of Martin. In the attempt he made a couple of mistakes and that allowed Pagliani to get away into a clear second, at also allowed Fabio di Giannantonio, Brad Ray and Toprak  Razgatlıoğlu to catch up.

Mir had the pace to get clear of them and chase after Pagliani but Martin was immersed in a great four man battle for fourth that went all the way to the line with Razgatlıoğlu crossing it first.

Pagliani's second place came at the end of a tense contest with Mir. Pagliani secured it with a new lap record on the final tour. “It was a great race,” recalled Pagliani, “A shame that we had so many riders bumping together on the first laps that Stefano got away but anyway after that it was clear and I could run a good pace. I knew that Mir was behind and though it wasn't possible to catch Stefano I wanted to make sure that Joan could not get me on the last lap. I am happy to get second and the lap record, especially as the bike setting was not perfect, the rear was too soft and it wasn't easy.”

Martin accepted fifth with a mature smile. “It wasn't a perfect race of course, I tried to stay out of trouble but the other rider (Mir) seemed to have other ideas. I didn't let it get too me, I just settled to follow but I couldn't, my bike setting was way off, both front and rear so I just kept calm and picked up the points. OK, we go on to Aragon,” he concluded, with only a tenth place needed from either race on the final weekend to give him the Cup.

He gets another chance in two weeks time at Motorland Aragon on September 27th and 28th.


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