The final two races of the 2015 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup at MotorLand Aragon delivered action, surprises, a new winner in Spain’s Marc Garcia and a return to the top step of the podium for Italian Fabio Di Giannantonio. The title had already been settled in favor of Dutch rider Bo Bendsneyder in Round 11 in Misano but the last two races did not allow him to add to his impressive points.
Race One Saturday
After securing the title in what has been a near perfect season, Bendsneyder suffered his second DNF of the season in the penultimate round when he was involved in a dramatic four-rider crash. The race was red-flagged to facilitate medical attention and was reduced to eight laps. Other riders involved were Aleix Viu, Bruno Ieraci and Enzo Boulom. Viu and Bendsneyder were taken to the medical center but the other two riders were unable to start because of bike damage. Bendsneyder was later pronounced fit.
It was then Garcia’s turn to shine as he and Spanish compatriot Raul Fernandez took off to chase down pole man, Scottish teenager Rory Skinner. With the dominant Bendsneyder out of contention the race was much more closely contested between a group of six riders that also included Di Giannantonio. The Italian was lying second in the sixth lap but then went wide and lost the advantage coming into the penultimate lap. Garcia took the win, Fernandez was second and Skinner was third to take his first podium of the season.
Marc Garcia: “It is so great to finally get my first win. I had the rhythm, I felt confident and I knew I could win it.”
Meanwhile the 14-year old Scot was very satisfied to take third place, saying: “It was just a fantastic race and I enjoyed every moment of it. I just couldn’t hold them off at the end. The bike has been great all weekend, we softened up the suspension and it gave me the confidence in Free Practice 2 to really go for it in qualifying and the race.” Skinner celebrated his 14thBirthday on Sunday.
Race Two Sunday
Bendsneyder and Di Giannantonio had dominated the season before Aragon, but the final round could have gone to any of eight riders in the closing stages.
After a tough battle through the last laps it was Di Giannantonio and Japanese rider Ayumu Sasaki who made it a photo finish for first and second. Skinner was again in the best form of the season and wrapped up his weekend with a second podium third.
Fabio Di Giannantonio: “A perfect way to end the season, I don’t have words for it. I wasn’t happy with yesterday’s race, I made some mistakes and I knew I had to take a look at it. I watched the video and saw what I was doing wrong and where I could improve. I calmed myself down and made sure I did it all right today. It was such a great battle and I knew it would all come down to the last lap and slipstreaming down the last straight. I knew I had to be second and pass the leader into the last corner. It was so close but it worked perfectly.” The Italian teenager wrapped up his season with three wins and fourth second places to be the only rider to challenge Bendsneyder’s supremacy.
Sasaki, who finished third in the championship took his fifth podium of the season but was a little disappointed on missing out in what was one of the season’s closest finishes.Sasaki: “It was another great race, I thought I had it won, we were side by side but I just missed. Still I did my best, we changed the front suspension a little after yesterday’s race and that helped. It was a hard race all the way, I didn’t make a great start and had to fight to catch up.”
Cup winner Bendsneyder was in fact riding with an injured wrist from the four-rider crash on Saturday and had to settle for a ninth place finish in the final outing.
While the double header at Aragon wrapped up the 2015 season, in two weeks time there will be the annual Selection Event for candidates for the 10th edition of the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup.
Red Bull Rookies Cup at Motorland Aragon, in Aragon, Spain
Note: All riders on KTM RC 250 R
Results Round 12 (8-lap race)
1, Marc Garcia (ESP), 16:23.711 min
2. Raul Fernandez (ESP), +0.040 sec
3. Rory Skinner (GBR), +0.114
4. Ayumu Sasaki (JPN), +0.602
5. Rufino Florido (ESP), +0.795
Results Round 13 (16-lap race)
1. Fabio Di Giannantonio (ITA), 30:52.453 min
2. Ayumu Sasaki (JPN), +0.012 sec
3. Rory Skinner (GBR), +0.133
4. Olly Simpson (AUS), +0.444
5, Marc Garcia (ESP), +0.587
Cup Championship Points after Round 13
1. Bendsneyder, 243 (Cup Winner in Round 11)
2. Di Giannantonio, 194
3. Sasaki, 161
4, Garcia, 151
5. Gutierrez, 148
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