Jake Gagne made it a double victory weekend with another masterly display in the second Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup race of the German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring.
The 16-year-old Ramonan was again chased across the line by 14-year-old South African Brad Binder with 15-year-old Japanese Daijiro Hiura third, making up for his 15th place finish on Saturday.
Gagne stormed into the Cup points lead as nearest rivals Daniel Ruiz and Danny Kent both crashed. Kent remounted to finish 12th and now is second in the table, 14 points behind Gagne with Ruiz third, another 10 points adrift but 4 clear of Hiura, who is fourth.
“I was pretty confident I could do it again,” Gagne said on Sunday. “It was a good race yesterday and there was no reason why it should be different. At one point Brad and I got away from the others a bit, but I wasn’t too surprised when they closed back up again. Then it was all one group and I pretty much played it like yesterday and managed to get away just before the end.
“I knew that Brad was with me again, but he’s a good guy and I didn’t expect him to do anything crazy and take us both out. I knew he was a little bit frustrated that he couldn’t get past me at the last corners yesterday, but I was strong there and I braked even a bit deeper and held on.”
On Saturday, Gage was toward the front of the lead pack from the start and apparently had that important little something up his sleeve at the end of the 19 laps.
“I was just in the group for most of the race and watching what the other guys were doing,” he said. “With about three laps to go, I got to the front and tried to get away. I knew that Brad (Binder) had gone with me, but over the last few corners I knew I was pretty strong and I braked pretty deep so I didn’t think he’d be able to get by.”
On Sunday, Binder made a slightly easier race for himself than Saturday with a great start from his ninth place qualifying place on the third row of the grid.
“Yah, the start was fantastic,” said Binder. “I think I was about fourth going into the first corner. Then I got up with Jake and he and I went away a bit, but we couldn’t stay clear of the group. Then later on I had a go at leading but also couldn’t get away. On the last lap I really wanted to have a go at Jake, but he was just too good today—next time,” he concluded with a grin.
Hiura’s third made the Japanese smile for what seemed the first time in the weekend. “Yes I wasn’t happy with one point yesterday. But I knew that I had found quite a good rhythm and if I didn’t have trouble I could make a good result. I didn’t make a great start but we could close the gap on Jake and Brad so it was a great race. On the last lap I was going to try and win but I made a slight mistake and lost them so I will have to wait until Brno.”
Kent was philosophical about his meagre points tally after a great ride.
“My start wasn’t bad but I got squeezed from both sides going into the first corner,” he said. “I was almost stopped and dead last going down the hill. I think I made up 8 seconds to catch the leaders, but I must have taken too much out of the tires because when I fell I wasn’t doing anything different. At least I did get a few points out of it.”
Similarly reflective was 18-year-old Ruiz of Spain who was unhurt when he crashed out of the lead group on lap one, taking Kevin Calia with him.
“Honestly I don’t know what I did wrong,” he said. “I lost the front and unfortunately took Kevin out as well. I have lost a lot of points, but I just have to come back at the next race.”
The pack that chased down Gagne and Binder was headed by 16-year-old Italian Alejandro Pardo, who put together a string of quick laps and may well have got on the podium after a number of great passing moves, but over the last few laps things got a bit ragged.
“I didn’t make a good start, but the bike was perfect,” he said. “This is my favorite track and that corner at the bottom of the tight section where I passed Jake is a lot of fun. By the end, though, my tires were destroyed and that’s why I was having trouble.”
At the last corner Pardo barged inside Tomas Vavrous to take fourth leaving the Czech 16-year-old with rubber down his left thigh from Pardo’s front tire.
“I didn’t mean to push him out,” said the Italian.
It made a pair of excellent rides this weekend for Vavrous, who was eighth on Saturday and fifth on Sunday.
“I enjoyed that a lot even though this has never been a favorite track for me,” said Vavrous. “The bike was great and it was just the final corner that I had trouble with in both races. Yesterday I missed a gear and this time Pardo came inside. Anyway I still enjoyed it.”
The next Rookies Cup races are on Aug. 14 and 15 as part of the Grand Prix of the Czech Republic at Brno with a single race to conclude the season at Misano on Sept. 4th.