Aleix Viu rode a great Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup Race 2 at Jerez, capped by a perfectly judged final corner, to hold the advantage as Filip Sala? stole second from Can Öncü on the line. Saturday podium finisher Ai Ogura was fourth, ahead of fellow Japanese rider Kazuki Masaki in a blanket finish of five KTM RC 250 Rs.
It was another drama packed 16 laps and 16-year-old Spaniard Viu was quickly into his stride thanks to a bike change following a frustrating 5th in Race 1. Though he looked to have drawn Öncü away from the pack into a simple battle for the win the chasing trio finally caught them again on the second to last lap.
A good swap
“I am very happy with that,” beamed Viu. “Yesterday I rode a spare bike as I had trouble with mine in practice but today I was back on mine and a lot happier, we also changed the gearing and the settings were very good. A bit of a strange problem with the engine and I thought I might lose the race on the line but we just held on.”
“That last lap was a big fight, Can came past and I had to overtake him again. Coming to the last corner I thought Can or Filip might come down the inside but I just braked very very late and they couldn’t. I have to thank my mechanics and all my supporters because now I am leading the points and I just can’t wait to get to the next race.”
It looked as though Sala? might miss out on the podium as he did on Saturday when he was fourth but the 15-year-old Czech put in a blinder of a finish. “We changed the suspension after yesterday, it helped but I still had a problem with the rear and lost quite a bit of grip towards the end.”
“I was back in fifth but with two laps to go I knew I had to do something. I managed to get ahead of Masaki and then at the last corner I knew that there is always drama so I hung back a little to make sure I got a perfect drive out and just managed to pass Ogura and Öncü across the grid,” he grinned.
Great second debut
Öncü, the 13-year-old Turk, did his best to shrug off the sore left shoulder he sustained when brought down in the first corner on Saturday. “It was a hard race, especially because this guy is so fast,” He exclaimed with a laugh, a huge grin and punch to Viu as they stepped down from the podium.
“This morning I could hardly move the shoulder at all and in the race it was painful, I didn’t want to do anything crazy and though I wanted to win he was very fast and I would have been crazy to try any harder,” Öncü rode superbly in what was effectively his first Rookies Cup race and took the fight to Viu all the way, getting in front more than once.
Saturday’s winner Rory Skinner banged into Sean Kelly early on and the pair fell heavily. Kelly was taken to hospital for further checks while Skinner was not seriously hurt but faces a penalty at the next event. Eleven races remain in the 11th Rookies Cup season with the next pair being at Assen on June 24th and 25th.