Jorge Martin made Mugello his own with an imperious display as he won Race 3 in the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup 2014.
The 16-year-old Spaniard was in a class of his own as Italians Manuel Pagliani and Stefano Manzi fought to the line for second and 17-year-old Pagliani got the verdict by four thousandths of a second over his 15-year-old compatriot.
After mixed conditions through the three sessions on Friday, race day was perfect, sunny racing weather and from the outside of the front row of the grid 16-year-old Australian Olly Simpson got the holeshot.
From pole Martin was straight onto his tail and into the lead up the inside on the brakes into the first corner. “I knew that some of my strongest competitors were back on grid,” said Martin. “I had to go for it right from the start, I needed to get a good lead before they got into second.”
Martin did exactly that and had a two second advantage over the pack at the end of the first of 15 laps. That gap kept getting bigger even as Manzi and Pagliani worked their way through from 7th and 8th on the grid. They entered into a fabulous six-man battle for second with Simpson, 17-year-old Briton Brad Ray who had qualified second and Toprak Razgatlıoğlu and Joan Mir who came off the second row.
Razgatlıoğlu, the 17-year-old Turk and biggest rider in the field, fought back from a distant seventh to briefly snatch second but it was hard for him and he could not keep doing that. The second place group split up as 16-year-old Mir was put out with an engine problem then Ray had the gear lever come adrift.
Ray's retirement was bad news for Simpson as the pair had been closing back in on Pagliani and Manzi after the Italians opened up a small advantage. With his slipstreaming mate gone Simpson had to settle for fourth, well clear of Razgatlıoğlu.
There was nothing separating Pagliani and Manzi and at times they did take chunks out of Martin's lead, a clue the he was not having an easy time out front but with six seconds in hand he had no need to panic and he kept his head and could re-establish his advantage almost at will.
Rookies Cup races four and five are part of the Iveco Daily TT Assen on June 27 and 28.