BALDASSARRI STEALS ROOKIES CLIFF HANGER RACE AT ASSEN
Lorenzo Baldassarri of Italy stole victory on Friday from Australian Arthur Sissis in the last seconds of the first of two Red Bull Rookies races on the Assen circuit in the Netherlands on Friday. The thrilling race saw both riders challenge for the lead several times in the last half of the final lap.
Again, like in Silverstone in the last rounds, the young riders, who all compete on identical KTM 125 RR machines, had to tackle a wet and slippery circuit that saw a lot of them make unscheduled exits.
But it was the Italian and the Australian who dominated the race made all the more remarkable after Baldassarri had made a huge acrobatic save to stay on the bike when he hit a wet patch on the track with about three laps to go. At that stage it looked like it was going to be an easy ride home for Sissis when his rival was left behind by about three seconds. Making a huge recovery to somehow stay on the bike, Lorenzo carved his way back into the action and waited his moment to attack. He made his move and they crossed the line just 0.01 seconds apart. The two young riders were racing for more than first place on the podium; the championship lead was also up for grabs and fittingly after such an equal battle, the points are now equal going into Saturday’s race on the Dutch circuit.
After the race Baldassarri said he had been riding right on the limit. “I didn't make a great start but then everything was going OK until I nearly crashed coming out of the chicane. I knew then it would be very difficult but I started to close and then I just took a big risk to crash because it was the only way if I was going to win," he said.
Arthur Sissis said he has seen on the big screen that Lorenzo almost came off and his pit board told him he had a two-minute lead. “I just kept going but I guess I wasn't making enough use of the dry patches because the gap came down to a second and then suddenly Lorenzo was going past. I got back at him and managed to get in front but just drifted wide coming out of the fast left hander and that was it,” the Australian said.
While the two leaders had dominated the race there plenty of action in the following pack. It was also a tight battle for the minor place, which finally went to 15-year-old pole sitter James Flitcroft of the UK who won the tight battle against Ivor Lopes of Portugal for third.
Race 1 Classification
1, Lorenzo Baldassarri, Italy 29 minutes 41.125 seconds
2, Arthur Sissis, Australia +0.012
3, James Flitcroft, Britain +16.338
4, Ivo Lopes, Portugal +16.929
5, Lukas Trautmann, Austria +26.455
Standings after Race 1
1, Sissis, 116 points
2, Baldassarri, 116
3, Trautmann, 78
4, Alan Techer, France, 68
5, Lopes, 64
6, Philipp Oettl, Germany, 54