12 months ago
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The 16-year-old Spaniard kept his cool through the final lap when fellow countrymen Pedro Acosta and David Salvador slipped ahead. The two 15-year-olds flashed across the line together with Acosta getting the verdict by 0.056 seconds.
Third place ahead of pole sitter Haruki Noguchi, the 18-year-old Japanese, was enough to claim the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup title and Tatay knew it. He celebrated on the wind-down lap on his KTM RC 250 R and fell into tears in parc fermé as he hugged his mechanic and supporters.
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Red Bull MotoGP™ Rookies Cup in Misano
Winning without thinking
Later Tatay explained how things unfolded. "From the beginning of the race I was determined not to think about the championship and just to treat it like another race. So I tried to escape but couldn't, it was impossible. It was a big group and so I waited until five laps to go and tried again to get away. Again I couldn't so I just prepared myself for the last lap. It was crazy but I managed to do what I needed to and won the Cup."
"I still can't believe that I have won, it will take a few days, it has been an unbelievable year. It was my objective from the start of the season but I couldn't really imagine that it would happen. For me the best race was Mugello, being able to win that way was incredible. The worst race was Race 1 in Austria when I jumped the start. But my manager and my helper supported me then and rebuilt my confidence. I want to thank them, my family and all the Cup staff for a fantastic season."
Playing it cool to win
Tatay had ended the 2018 Cup season fifth and was certainly one of the favourites for this his second season. In the same way Acosta has impressed in his first year and took his third win in Misano. "Though I crashed in Qualifying I knew that I had good pace and that the bike was set up well for the race. I thought to myself on the sighting lap that I just had to play it cool," explained Acosta. "I got a good start but I didn't go crazy. I worked into the front and just relaxed there through the race. I was waiting for the end and on the last lap I really pushed. It's great to get another win and I'm looking forward to Aragon."
Salvador was a happy second. "I was confident going into the race because after a difficult first practice session we had the bike well sorted for yesterday afternoon. The race was tough because Carlos was very fast and it was a big group of us chasing him. I just put myself in a good position at the end and I am very happy to get another second place in the Rookies Cup."
A touch frustrated in fourth and fifth
"I just didn't have the same grip in the race as I did in Qualifying," explained Noguchi. "I don't know what caused the difference but I found the race hard. I did what I could and tried to get in the best position on the last lap but Salvador slipped past and I couldn't get back ahead. Fourth is not bad but also not so good."
Fifth place and fastest lap went to Marcos Uriarte but the 14-year-old Spaniard was not happy with that. "I made a bad start and gave myself a lot of work to do. By the time I had got to the front I had used up my tyres and I then struggled. Fifth is not where I wanted to finish."
So Tatay goes to Aragon with a 54 point advantage over Acosta and has the Cup. Unfortunately Yuki Kunii was unable to keep his chance of the title alive, the 16-year-old Japanese is still recovering from the hand injury he sustained when riding as a wild card in the Czech Moto3 Grand Prix.
12 months ago