Lukas Trautmann beat Stefano Manzi across the line by 0.003 to win one of the most intense Red Bull MotoGP Cup battles in the 6 year history of the Cup. Saturday's winner Scott Deroue was a very close third just ahead of Cup leader Florian Alt.
Every Rookies Cup race seems packed full of drama and excitement but never more than Race 2 at the Sachsenring. There were reversals of fortune at almost every turn and starting the last lap 16 year old German Florian Alt had the lead over Czech 16 year old Karel Hanika and 15 year old Belgian Livio Loi. The lead pack of more than 10 riders had traded places all the way through the 19 lap race and there was no let-up in the final circuit.
Loi took the lead and defended well for the first half of the lap but through the ultra fast change of direction before the downhill drop to the final corners he came together with Alt and Deroue. As they sorted themselves out 16 year old Austrian Trautmann seized the advantage and charged down the hill ahead of the pack including 13 year old Italian Manzi.
Just as he might have had the race won, Trautmann had a huge slide exiting the penultimate corner and Manzi was able to pounce up the inside into the last turn. He was tight going in though and Trautmann had the wider, faster entry, enough to draw past as they flashed across the line.
Always a last lap star, Deroue, the 16 year old Dutchman, this time had a bit of luck after the setback with Alt and Loi. “I went wide when Livio and Florian touched but then at the bottom of the hill Ivo (Lopes) and Florian came together and I got through. It was another fantastic race but so many overtaking moves by everyone and you could never be sure where they were going to brake so it got a bit crazy at times. A lot of fun though.”
Trautmann was thrilled with his win of course and also said that it had got pretty intense. “Such hard fighting all the way, I have never been in a race like it. I know the lap times were not as quick as we did in free practice and I think that it is because the thunderstorm washed all the rubber of the track and the grip wasn't there. Also by the end of the race the rear tyre was well worn. And who was it who hit the inside of my seat in the last left hander with a few laps to go?”
That was 14 year old German Willi Albert. The 2nd place man from Saturday was in the fight for the lead all the way from the start, did a lot of the front running and also managed to squeeze through gaps a couple of times when there seemed to be no space. He tried it once too often though, clipped the back of Trautmann's bike and crashed out.
There were two mechanical failures, notably Philipp Oettl who had started the race just 10 points behind Alt but retired from 9th place on lap 3 with gearbox problems. Disappointment also for British 125 Champion Kyle Ryde as the 14 year old was well in the hunt until an electrical problem put him out.
The ride of the race not rewarded by points certainly went to 15 year old Malaysian Hafiq Azmi who set the fastest lap of the race in an incredible charge through the field. He was 12th on the grid but got pushed back to 18th early and way of the lead group before racing his way forward. He joined the lead pack right at the end but slid out at the top of the hill on the last lap just behind the Loi, Alt, Deroue incident.
Diminutive Manzi summed up the the race wonderfully. “Such a fun race all the way, I was in the group in about 7th place for much of the race, we were all fighting so hard. Then I managed to get to the front but at the first corner near the end of the race it was too close with Alt and another rider, we touched, so I lost positions and had to fight back again. On the last lap I managed to get in front when Lukas made a mistake and I thought I had won it but he was faster out of the last corner.”
Deroue has taken 2nd place in the points chase and is now just just 9 behind Alt and 14 ahead of Oettl. There are 5 races remaining so 125 points still on offer starting with the Czech Grand Prix at Brno on August 25th and 26th.