HANIKA WINS AT HOME IN BRNO!
An ecstatic Karel Hanika raced to victory in front of his home crowd on the Czech racing circuit at Brno on Saturday in Round 9 of the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies cup to extend his lead in the championship.
Karel Hanika started on pole but his position was hotly contested right to the final meters by his main rivals Manuel Pagliani of Italy and Spain’s Jorge Martin who eventually had to settle for the minor places. While the three riders went into the final corner together it was Hanika who forged ahead over the line to take the flag.
At the three quarter mark American Joe Roberts had also been a podium contender and briefly held the lead but in the end it was the top three who had put a comfortable distance between themselves and the rest of the pack. Roberts was on his own almost three seconds behind in fourth place while the next group of riders, led by Soushu Mihara of Japan were crossed the line seven and a half seconds behind the leader.
But while Hanika was the ultimate winner, he did have to work hard for it. “I didn't get a great start and had to work hard to get to the lead. I didn't feel as confident on the bike as I did in qualifying, something didn't feel quite right but you have to race with what you have. There was no way that I could break away, Jorge and Manuel were riding very well and Manuel was particularly good both on the brakes and getting out of the corners so it was a very tough race.” Hanika said he just went as hard as he could in the final stages and it paid off for him.
Hanika now has a comfortable 51 points over Martín while Pagliani has moved to third displacing Stefano Manzi who exited after an early crash with fellow Italian Enea Bastianini, both riders escaped injury.
Perhaps the unluckiest rider was Toprak Razgatlioglu of Turkey who looked very strong in qualifying and was set to start in the second grid position. But his bike stalled on the grid and he was forced to start instead from the pits area. He was barely back out on the track when he was signaled as having a ride through penalty for exceeding the speed limit in the pits area.
While the Rookies often race twice on a MotoGP weekend, it was just a single round on the sweeping Brno Autodromo Circuit, a great favorite with most riders. They contest another two rounds at the British Silverstone circuit next weekend. There are still five races and 125 points up for grabs.
Results Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup Brno
All riders on KTM RC250 GP machines
1. Karel Hanika (CZ), 31:09.544 min
2. Manuel Pagliani (I), +0.169 sec
3. Jorge Martin (E), +0.225
4. Joe Roberts (USA), +2.838
5. Soushi Mihara (J), +7.440
Standings Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup after 9 of 14 rounds
1. Hanika, 185 points
2. Martin, 134
3. Pagliani, 90
4. Stefan Manzi (I), 87
5. Enea Bastianini (I), 83