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Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup: Hanika wins Race 2

Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup: Hanika wins Race 2

Karel Hanika reversed his Race 1 disaster with victory in Race 2 at the Sachsenring on Sunday while his great Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup rival Jorge Martin crashed out on the penultimate lap, handing back the 25 points he had taken the day before.

The pair rode superbly, passing the lap record back and forth between them as Martin, the 15-year-old Spaniard, made great use of his pole-position-setting-pace to work himself a nice lead. 17-year-old Czech Hanika was slower away from the middle of the front row and only got into second place on Lap 5 of the 19.

By then Martin had a one second advantage and he defended it superbly as both riders went faster than either had done in practice, faster indeed than any Rookie had ever lapped the German Grand Prix circuit. Even as rear tyre wear became a factor towards the end, there could be no let-up. Martin had to respond once more with two laps to go, as Hanika had finally cut the gap to well under a second and this time the rear tyre snapped round as he got the power on through Turn 1.

Battle for second

Hanika then cruised to victory by almost ten seconds over a wonderfully intense contest for the other rostrum places that was won by Manuel Pagliani, the Italian 16-year-old, ahead of 14-year-old fellow countryman Stefano Manzi and 15-year-old Spaniard Joan Mir, having his best result of his first Rookies Cup season by a long way.

“It was an incredibly tough race, perhaps my toughest so far,” explained Hanika who had crashed while leading Race 1 on Saturday. “I didn't get a good start and had to work very hard to get through the group. I have to thank the WP guys because they did a great job on sorting out my forks. I could feel the improvement from the first lap and that made a big difference.

“I pushed as hard as I possibly could, there was a point when I thought I wasn't going to catch him but I didn't give up and just at the end I could see I was getting there. It is a shame he crashed because he really rode a great race. I am so happy for the championship that I got back the points I lost yesterday, it makes me happy going to my home race in Brno but I know we can do even better with the settings and we'll work on that."

Martin unhurt

Martin has evolved into both a great rider and a very charming young man; he was philosophical about things. “I started very well and was going away from the group,” he recalled. “I tried to make my own pace and it was working well, the gap got bigger. Then I just worked at keeping it there. Towards the end the rear was sliding but on the left, there are so few right hand corners that there was no problem on the right until that lap, it just suddenly let go.”

Pagliani's superb second matched his finishing position in Race 2 in Austin and he was thrilled. “It was a very tough race, not a good start at all, and I had to work very hard to get with the front group.” he said. “By then Martin and Hanika were well away but we had a great battle and I am so happy to be back on the podium. I had so enjoyed Austin but at Assen I did not feel good on the bike at all and it was hard to get back to a good feeling and a good rhythm.”

Double podium for Manzi

Manzi put in another storming ride to third after his second on Saturday. “It was a very hard race but it started well and I was right with the front into the first corner,” said the eight place qualifier. “We had a great battle but it was impossible to follow Martin and Hanika and I just had to try everything to get on the podium.”

With eight of the 14 races run, Hanika holds a 42-point lead over Martin but knows very well how quickly even that advantage can be destroyed as the Rookies look forward to the Czech Grand Prix round on August 24th.


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