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Emerging in front after an incredible opening few laps at Assen, Can Öncü then put in another perfect performance to match his dominant Saturday victory, with the 14-year-old Turk crossing the line 2.7 seconds ahead to stretch his points advantage to an impressive 49 after 5 of 12 races.. The chasing pack of KTM RC 250 Rs provided plenty of entertainment, with 16-year-old Czech Filip Salač making a very strong run into second after finishing fifth on Saturday and Xavier Artigas, the 15-year old Spaniard, completing the podium after taking P2 in Race 1.
All of the action from Race 2 of the Red Bull Rookies Cup
All about control
“I am very happy about the race” beamed Can Öncü. “Not just because I won but because I managed to control the race the way I needed to. I made another good start but I wasn't aggressive enough at the first corner and two riders got past me then. A few corners later I think it was Yamanaka who banged my rear brake and the back tyre slid out. After that I could feel that the rear brake was very hard so I was playing with it a little down the straight and adjusting it to make it softer, it seemed to work.”
“So in the first few laps there was a lot of passing but then I concentrated on getting in front and pushed to get a lead. I managed to open up a gap and then I could control that so I'm very happy. I want to thank everyone around me as well as all the fans, especially Francesc Julià and the other technical staff who work so hard to give me a great bike.”
Chasing him home
Salač obviously put everything into the race as his breathing and sweat showed as he got off the bike. “It was a hard race. I got a good start but the first few laps were difficult, the wind was much stronger than yesterday and it was difficult to get used to that so I lost some places. Then I understood what I had to do and started to really push.”
“Can was too fast but I could get to the front of the group and tried as hard as I could to hold the advantage to the end. I really gave it 100%.”
Looking cool himself Artigas admitted that there was some temperature out there. “Yes I think the track was hotter than yesterday, the bike was sliding around more and it was more difficult. I enjoyed the race, I did everything I could to get second again but Filip was riding well and it all came down to the last chicane, I got close but couldn't quite get ahead. Still it was a good weekend, on the podium twice.”
Can Öncü's nearest points rival, 15-year-old Carlos Tatay, ended the race in the gravel after an all Spanish final corner crash that also involved 14-year-old Adrián Huertas and 15-year-old Adrián Carrasco. Only Huertas got back on the bike to take ninth.
The trio had been part of an intense struggle involving up to eight riders. It included Sean Kelly, the 16-year-old American who actually led early on but slid off on lap eight. Also Japanese 16-year-old Ryusei Yamanaka who went down on lap five.
Deniz Öncü, the 14-year-old Turk, had also featured strongly in the fight but was penalised 1.3 seconds for short cutting the chicane and that dropped him to fifth behind Barry Baltus. The 14-year-old Belgian is the youngest in the field and was happy with the great result. “I worked hard to run in the first group and It was going well but just before the end I caught neutral going into turn five and lost a lot of places. I was fighting to get back into the group over the last laps but it was hard. Then there was the big crash at the chicane and that was good for me,” he grinned.
Next up for the Rookies? The Sachsenring, on July 15th.
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