Ramona teen is top U.S. finisher in Red Bull Assen circuit

Jake Gagne of Ramona earned his first podium of the season on Saturday in the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup race held at the famed Assen circuit in the Netherlands.

Gagne, 15, finished third in what observers called an exciting battle among 27 top teen racers from around the globe.

Despite the threat of rain, the race was held in dry conditions and proved to be another tight fight with all the competitors racing identical KTM RC 125 machines. Gagne battled with Daijiro Hiura (Japan), Florian Marino(Franch) and Jakub Kornfeil (Czech Republic) for position on the 16th and final lap, making it an international showdown.

In his first race at Assen, Jake finished just 3.018 seconds behind winner Sturla Fagerhaug (Norway).

“It was a fun race,” said Jake. “I had qualified on the second row and I got a good start and ran with the front group of six or seven guys.

“It was a very competitive race. I led for a little while, then I made a mistake and had to play catch-up. Sturla (Fagerhaug) got away a bit but coming down to the last corner of the last lap, there were four or five guys fighting and it was really exciting. I was able to get third and earn the podium, which was one of my goals coming into Assen, so I am pretty happy with the result.”

The Ramona racer’s result showed his continued progress in his first season racing in Europe and just his second season in roadracing. In that short time span, Gagne has emerged from roadracing novice with an extensive motocross and Supermoto background to a highly respected competitor on the pavement as well.

He finished the 2008 season in the Red Bull AMA Rookies Cup with two wins at Road Atlanta and Indianapolis and a second-place finish at Laguna Seca. He then took third at the all-star Riders Cup event in Valencia, Spain.

After joining the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup earlier this year, Gagne has worked his way to the front end of the MotoGP Rookies Cup, also. He ran in third place in the previous event in Mugello, Italy, before a crash robbed him of a podium result, but he was able to accomplish that goal in the Netherlands.

“I didn’t get the best start to the season, but I’ve been making progress,” said Jake. “The key to it has been getting a better setup on the bike and improving my confidence. Finishing on the podium feels good and I’m pumped to get that under my belt. The key now is to keep making progress and keep getting faster.”

Gagne is eighth in points and the top-ranked American in the standings.

The next Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup event will be at the Sachsenring in Germany July 18.

Gagne’s 2009 sponsors are: A-stars, Arai Helmets, Kevin Schwantz schools, American Supercamp, KTM North America, Precision Concepts Racing, JD Built, Spy Optics, AP Designs, All American KTM, Ready Filter, Factory Backing, Ramona Cycle Supply and Rickypics.com.

   
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