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Ai Ogura took his second win of the season with a perfectly judged final lap at Misano to lead Kazuki Masaki and Aleix Viu across the line. In a huge shake up for the standings, former Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup points leader Can Öncü crashed out of the lead battle on the second lap - handing the championship advantage to Masaki, with Viu remaining third.
The trio head to the final weekend in Aragon to sort out the Cup while Ogura, the 16-year-old Japanese rider, will instead concentrate on winning races. “It was a hard race,” admitted Ogura. “Viu is very good on the brakes and Masaki was also fast. I could not get away from them and had to do it on the last lap. I timed my pass perfectly and managed to stay ahead.”
“The bike was great, very happy with it and I really enjoyed the race,” concluded Ogura giving his KTM RC 250 R an appreciative stroke.
Masaki leads for the first time
With a bigger smile, 17-year-old fellow Japanese rider Masaki revelled in his position at the head of the points table. “That is the most important thing. I wanted to win the race and I did everything I could. I pushed very hard from the start but Ogura and Viu caught me, it was a hard battle.”
“At the end I lined up and passed Viu at the end of the straight but Ogura was just too far in front for me to get him too. I am leading the points for the first time and I know it will be a hard fight in Aragon,” concluded Masaki.
Viu is still third
“I am happy even though I didn’t win,” smiled Viu, who had started from pole. “It was a good race, a good pace and I was happy with the way I rode. In the end I just had the wrong gearing. It was perfect for qualifying when I was on my own but in the slipstream I was hitting the rev limiter.”
“That’s what happened on the last lap, I was hitting the limiter and Masaki came past, nothing I could do about it and there was no chance to overtake through the last few corners. Still I am in a better position than the start of the weekend, the points are a little closer and we can fight in Aragon,” added the 16-year-old Spaniard with his usual smile.
Öncü is now second
For Can Öncü, it certainly isn’t over. “Nothing is finished,” asserted the 14-year-old Turk. “I made a mistake, I highsided, but I will be back in Aragon and I will fight to win the Cup.”
His twin brother Deniz also mixed it at the front before eventually finishing fourth. “Yes I made a mistake,” he grinned, quite furious with himself. “I ran off and lost the group, I was so annoyed. I enjoyed the race though, I was just having a bit of trouble on the brakes, the rear coming up when I braked hard,” explained the super-light Turk.
He just beat Filip Salač to the line, but the 15-year-old Czech also wore a smile though a little thin from exhaustion. “I pushed hard at the start but by mid race I was hurting and tired, I did what I could but I hope in Aragon it will be better,” concluded Salač who had been second in Race 2 in Jerez but then missed the bulk of the season due to the broken leg he sustained at a non Rookies Cup event.
The Rookies will be back on track for the deciding weekend as part of the Gran Premio Movistar de Aragon in two weeks.
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