LORENZO BALDASSARRI WINS 2011 RED BULL MOTOGP ROOKIES CUP TITLE
The final round of the 2011 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup was a do or die occasion for Lorenzo Baldassarri of Italy and Australian Arthur Sissis, the only two riders in the competition that were in with title hopes, but on Saturday it was the 15-year-old Italian who triumphed on the Misano circuit in Italy.
Even at the double-header races on the Brno circuit the final title outcome was down to the two teenagers who went into Misano knowing that the points difference was so slight that if Sissis won and Baldassarri finished second, the Italian would still take the title.
The race proved to be as tight and thrilling as almost all the hotly contested rounds of the 2011 season, which is run parallel to the MotoGP calendar and gives the teenage riders the opportunity to showcase their skills on the major European racing circuits riding identical KTM 125 machines. It was Sissis who had the edge in the early phase when it appeared that Baldassarri had got himself locked into a following group but as the race progressed, he made the break and hung onto the tailpipe of the leading three - Sissis and the two competitive German riders Philipp Oettl and Florian Alt, who ended the day 1-2 on the podium in the final round. Once Baldassarri had made contact with the front four, riders jockeyed for the front position, which swung between the four leaders. Then with just three laps to go Baldassarri challenged Sissis and the Australian went wide. He ran off the track but missed going into the gravel but still sacrificed his spot with the leading group. Sissis rejoined the race in sixth. Baldassarri then had nothing left to do but to coast home in third to wrap up the title. The luckless Australian made good two places to cross the line in fourth place but was clearly bitterly disappointed to wrap up his season in second overall.
In the final points tally Baldassarri finished with 208 with Sissis in second trailing by 9 points. French rider Alan Techer wrapped up his season in third place with 162 points with Oettl fourth with 141 and Tomas Vavrous of the Czech Republic in fifth with 114.
The 2011 season was made up of eight race weekends, six of which were double-headers. Riders started their campaigns in Jerez, Spain. They then went to Estoril (P), Silverstone (GB), Assen (NL) Mugello (I), Sachsenring (D), Brno (CZ) before wrapping up the season at Misano on Saturday. The competition grooms talented young rider for future careers in top-level road racing.
Baldassarri: “It was a great race. Such a tough fight with Arthur, Philipp and Florian. We were braking so hard and so late and pushing hard, on the limit, through every corner, the hardest race of the year. Then on the last lap I looked back and I could see that Arthur wasn't close, I knew I just had to finish 3rd to take the Cup.”
Sissis: “The race was all going okay. We were having a great battle then I just made that one mistake. We were fighting for the lead and I tried to get back around him, he just moved over and I was off the track. I tried, I rode as hard as I could to get back but I just couldn't make it. Still it's been a great year, the best year of my life.”
Red Bull Rookies Final Round at Misano, Italy
All riders on KTM 125 RR machines
1, Philipp Oettl, Germany
2, Florian Alt, Germany
3, Lorenzo Baldissarri, Italy
4, Arthur Sissis, Australian
5, Tomas Vavrous, Czech Republic
6, Alan Techer, France
Red Bull Rookies Final Standings
1, Lorenzo Baldissarri, Italy 208 (wins 2011 title)
2, Arthur Sissis, Australian 199
3, Alan Techer, France 162
4, Philipp Oettl, Germany 141
5, Tomas Vavrous, Czech Republic 114