Wet, slippery conditions could not prevent Jorge Martin putting in a champion's performance in the final race of the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup season.
The 16-year-old Spaniard had to work for it, eventually chasing down fast starting fellow countryman Marc Garcia after 10 of the 15 laps.
14-year-old Garcia took a fine second to complete his 100% finish record in his first Cup season, comfortably ahead of Brad Ray, the 17-year-old Briton who had to make up for a poor start from the front row.
When the lights went out Garcia charged through from row three at such a pace that he quickly caught and passed Saturday's winner Joan Mir who had jumped from the second row into an initial lead. Mir gave chase but slid off as Garcia went quicker and quicker.
From pole, Martin seemed a little on edge early on. “Yes, there was a lot happening the guys were sliding about a bit and we got a bit close early on. Then I managed to find some space and chase after Garcia. He was riding well though and I made a couple of mistakes but managed to get away with it. He didn't make it easy for me, he fought back but in the end I could get away.”
“It was the perfect end for the year for me, coming here I really wanted to take the Cup yesterday so that I could concentrate on winning today and that is what happened. You really want to end the season on the top of the podium.”
“For me though my best win was in Mugello, to win that one so convincingly I think said something to the Moto3 teams and of course that is where I hope to be next year. But all of the wins have been great and I have loved being in the Rookies Cup,” concluded Martin who has become a true master of the Moto3 spec KTM.
Garcia richly deserved his second after a faultless ride. “I got a good start and managed to get into the lead with a good rhythm. I realised that Jorge was catching me and pushed as much as I could but he did a great job. Towards the end the engine was surging a bit but I managed to keep ahead of Ray, I am so happy to finish my first year like this.”
“Not a good start at all and it took a while to get past the guys in the early laps. Once I did get into third I could see the leaders ahead and I was closing the gap a bit but I realised that it just wasn't happening quick enough and knew that I had to settle for third rather than have something silly happen,” admitted Ray.
A fine fourth went to Corentin Perolari, the 16-year-old Frenchman who had by far his best ride of the year. “I made a very good start and passed quite a few guys at the first corner. I felt really good on the bike, had a good rhythm and a good feeling for the grip. I wanted the podium but in the end Brad was just too fast, still that was by far my best race of the year.”
Toprak Razgatlıoğlu took fifth. “I had a lot of fun, I have loved racing in the Rookies Cup. I wanted the last race to be better but I found I just couldn't get on the power through the fast corners, especially the rights for some reason, I just wasn't finding grip. Still I did everything I could.”
Aris Michail matched his best run of the year with sixth, only just holding on at the final turn ahead of Assen winner Bo Bendsneyder. “That was so much fun,” enthused 16-year-old German Michail. “I was feeling great on the bike, my only trouble was that coming off the sixth row I had a lot of work to do. I knew that Bo was close, another lap and I would have been in trouble.”
When he sees the replay he will realise how much trouble, as the 15-year-old Dutchman made up over a second on him over the final lap only to almost highside as he tried to gas it out of the last corner. “That was close,” grinned Bendsneyder. “I gave it everything, went a little bit crazy perhaps at the last corner but I had to try. Early on I was not fast enough, just like race 1 in Assen, for next year I have to learn to get up to speed quicker in these conditions.”
The next Rookies action event is the Selection Event on October 14th, 15th and 16th at Guadix in Spain where the riders get the chance to show their skills in the hope of being invited to join the 2015 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup.