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30 days ago
By Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup

Sasaki with glory in sight at Aragon

The title fight in the 2016 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup could reach a conclusion this weekend in Spain

Japanese 15-year-old Ayumu Sasaki has a 31 point advantage in the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup going into the last two races of the season this weekend in Aragon.

There are still 50 points on offer for a double victory so two 15-year-old Spaniards, Aleix Viu and Raul Fernandez, can still catch him if they have near perfect weekends. Fernandez should be considered an outsider as he is 46 adrift but Viu ‘only’ needs to make up those 31 and is very much a man on form.

Viu, and the other KTM RC 250 R mounted Rookies, will be a lot more careful this coming weekend so as not to ‘exceed track limits’. In Misano four Rookies lost grid positions for using the track apron runoff in Qualifying. Then, in the race, the first three across the line were demoted as a group so that Sasaki jumped from fourth to first.

Thus, due to the MotoGP regulations, Viu lost a win for the second time, the first being Race 1 at the Red Bull Ring and those demotions have cost him 10 points. Sasaki gained 12 points in Misano by not exceeding the track limits. This is not the officials being picky, one of the riders crossed the line nine times in the race.

It will be a better race if everyone stays between the lines in Aragon and that will not detract from the excitement at all. There have been some fabulous end of season races in Spain with a number of surprises including Rory Skinner’s pole last year and his double third race finishes to celebrate his birthday. This time he turns 15 a few days after the final race but would certainly love to celebrate with his first Cup win. So far, third is his best placing, the Scot managed that position again in Assen this season.

Also looking for his first victory is Rufino Florido and the 16-year-old Spaniard has to add some consistency to his obvious skill to move up from seventh in the points table where he currently stands just a single point behind Skinner.

Marc Garcia, the 16-year-old Spaniard can claim to be this year’s unluckiest Rookie. He missed the first race after a coming together with another rider on the sighting lap and missed Misano after sustaining a broken finger in a multi bike crash on oil at a non Cup event at Portimao. He plans to race in Aragon.

He has won three races this season but stands fourth in the points, too far back for a shot at the title. Just behind him is 16-year-old Kaito Toba who has one win to his name this year and was in the lead battle at Aragon last year before a spectacular fall.

In the same Portimao crash as Garcia was fellow Rookie Makar Yurchenko and the 18-year-old Russian’s broken ankle is also on the mend so he will at least try to defend his eighth place in the points table. In fact he has the ability to do better, do not count him out for a podium finish if he is fully fit.

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