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Zarco takes win and Rookies title

Zarco takes win and Rookies title

Johann Zarco took victory and the series title in the penultimate round of the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup this afternoon, held alongside the Grande Premio de Portugal at Estoril.

Johann Zarco won the inaugural Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup by winning his third race of the season from Cameron Beaubier and Matthew Hoyle. The Frenchman had to fight all the way though as both the American and the Briton had their chance to lead and never gave up the chase.

"I am absolutely thrilled to win the first Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup and it was a great race," said Zarco who had dominated practice completely. "I tried to get away from the start but I couldn't. I don't know but perhaps they picked up some of my lines and as they followed. I did expect that Cameron might challenge in the race as he's a very good rider and we had a great fight with Matthew all the way."

"In the end it came down to just trying to make a perfect last two laps and hope I could gain a small advantage, I just really concentrated on that. I only found out after the race that Cameron had made a bit of a mistake and was not right there behind me."

"Yeah, I just got the rear wheel a little in the air on the brakes," said Beaubier. "I had to let them off and ran a bit wide. We had a lap and a half to go and tried to catch back up but the bike was sliding around a lot as the tyres were pretty worn and I just couldn't do it."

"I really enjoyed the race, it was great," continued Beaubier. "There was not much in it around the lap, Johann was a bit quicker than me going into the last turn but I had a better line coming out. That was about it."

Hoyle also justly deserved his place on the podium, racing wheel to wheel for the lead and only getting dropped a few laps from home. "It was a great race and I really enjoyed it, by the end my tyres were shot and I almost crashed a couple of times." he said. In fact as he slipped away from the battle for the lead he was caught and passed on the last lap by Frenchman Cyril Carrillo. "I didn't even know it was the last lap. I just knew I had to get back in front, I think I just did it by about a tyre's width at the line," conclude Hoyle.

It had been a clean start and Zarco took the lead up the inside of Hoyle into the second corner with Beaubier back in fifth after being a little slow off the line.

Zarco was keen to get away but Beaubier and Hoyle were determined to go with him. Lap three saw Zarco start to exert his pace and he gained an advantage of almost a second as Beaubier tried to take second from Hoyle.

On lap four Hoyle ran wide through a long left hander and Beaubier cut through. Beaubier was second across the line but Hoyle went past on the brakes at the end of the straight. Beaubier went by again and they still had not lost more than a second to the leader.

In fact as they completed lap five Beaubier had cut the Frenchman's advantage to just four tenths with the fastest lap of the race to that point.

Half way round lap six he was on Zarco's tail and had dropped Hoyle by the best part of a second. Crossing the line Beaubier snatched the lead after Zarco ran a little wide onto the straight. Zarco fought back and suddenly Hoyle was with them making it a three man battle for the lead.

Behind the leading trio Carrillo had fought through to fourth just ahead of Spaniard Luis Salom, American Kris Turner, Scot Deane Brown and Sweden's Robert Gull. All five embroiled in a great battle five seconds behind the leaders.

At the head of the field they were three abreast on the brakes for the lead at the end of the straight and the Rookies looked like they had been doing it for a decade.

Hoyle had a chance to lead on lap ten but Zarco and Beaubier elbowed past again.

Starting lap eleven Turner ran onto the dirt at the first corner but it was still a four man battle for fourth as Salom raced on with Gull, Brown, Carrillo. Mossey lay eighth and Savadori a lonely ninth seeing his championship hops disappear. "My bike was just too slow again." said the disappointed Italian. "I just rode as hard as I could but they kept coming past on the straights. I am sure it was not possible to do more with this bike than I did."

Three laps to go and Zarco towed Beaubier away from Hoyle. Would the American now sit behind and wait for the last lap as he had done so effectively at Sachsenring?... would Zarco let him?

Effectively the race was decided when Beaubier lost ground with a mistake with just a lap and a half to go. He ran wide slightly and going onto the last lap Zarco held a 1.2 second advantage and Beaubier was three seconds in front of Hoyle.

Hoyle was being caught by Carrillo. The Frenchmen took third half way round the final lap but Hoyle would not be denied his place on the rostrum and fought back to snatch back third on the line.


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