Arthur Sissis, the 16 year old Australian turned the tables on 14 year old Italian Lorenzo Baldassarri with a fine last corner win to claim his third victory of this year’s Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup. Florian Alt, the 15 year old German, took a superb 3rd as typical Assen weather once again played a major part in the result of the Dutch TT round.
Looming black clouds and a sprinkling of rain prompting a start on wet tyres although the track was only damp. Pole man James Flitcroft shot into an early lead but from the 4th row of the grid Sissis was up the inside and into 2nd place at the first corner. Baldassarri was there as well and both had passed 15 year old Briton Flitcroft before the end of the first lap.
The rain held off and the drying track soon started to shred the tyres as Flitcroft went with Baldassarri and Sissis, pulling away from the pack. The pace was getting quicker and quicker, both with the drying track and the riders getting used to the grip limits of the rain tyres in the unusual circumstances.
Flitcroft was dropped by the Sissis and Baldassarri and started to be overhauled by what built into an 8 man battle for 4th place. Coming through that pack from his 18th place start was Alt. His impressive progress became stunning as he broke clear of the pack on lap 5 and set his sights on Flitcroft.
Alt became the fastest man on the track, he shot past Flitcroft on lap 7 and though he was 4 seconds behind the leaders he was clearly running a pace that would see him battling for the lead well before the end of the 14 lap race.
By lap 10 he was with them and his speed carried him straight past and into the lead. That was the end of the faster laps as everyone’s tyres were shredded. Sissis and Baldassarri responded to Alt’s attack and got back in front of the young German. By the last lap the Australian and the Italian had got enough of an advantage to make it fight between them for the win.
“My heart was racing so much on the last lap,” said Sissis. “It was such a great race, I’d tried to get away but Lorenzo was always there, after about 4 laps the tyres were shredded.. Then I couldn’t believe it when Alt passed us both and that made it more complicated. We got away from him but I knew that Lorenzo was the big problem. He was in front on the last lap, I’d got it wrong yesterday so I went the other side and passed him on the brakes going down to the chicane, I didn’t know if the front was going to hold up on the brakes, I think my heart stopped, I just explain the feeling going into the last corner.”
The front held up but the rear slid and that sealed the win for Sissis as Baldassarri was forced to back off fractionally as Sissis had a small slide right in front of him. Alt was a superb 3rd and thrilled with his first podium. “I really had great confidence in the tyres in these conditions and I thought I could do a great race. It was hard work to come from 18th but when I got away from the pack and could see the leaders I just went for it, I gave it full gas, I was so determined.”
“I had used the tyres so hard catching them that they were completely destroyed at the end,” explained Alt. “The bike was sliding so much I realised that 3rd place was a good result today and better than crashing trying too hard on the last lap.”
Baldassarri as usual made no excuses. “It was another great race, a lot of fun. I was in front on the last lap but Sissis was later on the brakes coming down to the last corner, he did a great job. Still I enjoyed this weekend and I am looking forward to my home race at Mugello next week.”
Disaster overtook Flitcroft at that final turn as he lost the front on the brakes taking out Brad Binder and Joakim Niemi from the middle of that 4th place pack. It was Alan Techer who took 4th from Xavi Pinsach, Tomas Vavrous, Scott Deroue and Stefano Valtulini.
Sissis now has a 5 point advantage over Baldassarri with 6 races remaining in the season. There is a single Rookies Cup race at the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello in a week’s time on Saturday June 2nd at 16.30 CET.
Race 2 Classification
1. Arthur Sissis (AUS) 27 minutes 05.184 seconds
2. Lorenzo Baldassarri (ITA) +0.222
3. Florian Alt (GER) +1.425
4. Alan Techer (FRA) +7.081
5. Xavier Pinsach (ESP) +7.393
6. Tomas Vavrous (CZE) Red +7.609
7. Scott Deroue (NED) +05 8.703
8. Stefano Valtulini (ITA) +8.959
9. Philipp Oettl (GER) +10.542
10. Andrea Migno (ITA) +18.203
[Press Release Courtesy of Red Bull]