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Total domination from Can Öncü in the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup Race 1 at Assen as the 13-year-old Turk ran away from the field. Kazuki Masaki took a superb second, the 16-year-old Japanese getting the better of an incredible 12 rider battle and just beating points leader Aleix Viu across the line.
From pole Öncü was completely in a race of his own after the first couple of laps on the KTM RC 250 R and halfway through the 16 laps he had an 8 second lead. “Of course I’m happy with that. I didn’t make a perfect first lap and got past by a couple of riders, I had to say to myself, ‘Come on Can!’. I got in front and I just pushed and pushed to get away.”
Going, going, gone
“Once I saw that I had a good gap I just kept it but I wasn’t really pushing the limit, I could have gone quicker but I knew that I didn’t have to, I didn’t have to take any chances. The bike was great, we don’t need to change anything, it is ready to go tomorrow,” concluded the curly haired character with a brilliant smile.”
Öncü had stormed off and no one looked like going with him and even Cup favourite Viu could not match his pace. “No I couldn’t go with him,” conceded the 16-year-old Spaniard. “I really thought the race would be wet and we changed the suspension for that but it was dry. We couldn’t change it completely back because we had a slightly different spring and I didn’t have such a good feeling early in the race.”
“As it went on I felt better,” explained Viu who had the pack climbing all around him and was often swallowed up. “But by then Can was away and I just had to battle with the others. If it is dry tomorrow we will change the suspension back and I think I can fight with him but this result was not bad for the championship, I’m not really happy but it’s OK.”
There was a much bigger smile from Masaki who had already been on the podium in Race 1 in Jerez. “Yes that was great. I was in the big group at the start and my pace was OK but I didn’t want to push too hard too early, I thought I might crash so I just stayed in the group and got more comfortable. I watched the way the race was going and then pushed over the last few laps so I could get in front of the group. The bike is good but I think we might try a small change tomorrow.”
Better for the rest of the year
Just off the podium was Matthias Meggle the 16-year-old German who was very happy after cutting through from 11th on the grid. “It would have been better to be on the podium of course but I am very happy with that. It was a very hard race but the result is a good reward for all the hard work I was doing through the winter so I could take a big step forward from last year. I really think it is paying off and I should be racing at the front from now on.”
“It was a crazy last lap and I’m sorry I missed the podium but the staff have done a great job to give me a really good bike and I will talk to them to see if we should change settings slightly for tomorrow. Then I’ll have another go to get on the podium.”
Race 2 is on Sunday at 16:00 (GMT +2), live on motogp.com and www.redbull.tv.
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