No one stood a chance once Carlos Tatay stormed into the lead on lap two in Mugello. The 16-year-old Spaniard soon had a one, a two and finally a ten second lead over the chasing pack.
Jerez arch rival and Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup joint points leader Yuki Kunii had no answer but set about limiting the damage in the chasing pack of 16. That all came undone for the 16-year-old Japanese on the last lap. Italian Matteo Bertelle had his rear step sideways under acceleration, starting a chain reaction that took himself, Kunii, Billy van Eerde and Marcos Uriarte out of the pack.
Though they all avoided serious injury, Kunii has a small fracture in his hand, it left a smaller pack to struggle for the podium. It was Pedro Acosta, the 15-year-old Spaniard who put in the perfect last lap to take second ahead of 17-year-old Japanese Haruki Noguchi.
Tatay was already celebrating on his KTM RC 250 R on the slow down lap and then beaming broadly in parc fermé. “It was perfect,” he enthused. “I really worked on different strategies in practice and when I got in front I decided to really push and I felt really good on the bike, everything was working.”
“When I saw the gap in the middle of the race I thought that I must be dreaming, this couldn’t be the real race. But it was, it’s a great feeling to win like that and I want to thank my family and everyone around me for making me a better person as well as a better rider,” he concluded before even considering the 25 point lead he now has in the title chase over Kunii who is still second.
Acosta missed both races in Jerez after injuring himself in practice but made up for that with his great ride to second in Mugello. “I really enjoyed that. It was a huge battle and I was not really comfortable until about the middle of the race when I really understood the front more and got confidence in it.”
“From there I could brake later and get into the corner quicker so that I could pass the other riders more easily. I used that in the last laps to get through the group.”
Noguchi had been running at the front of the group for much of the race and was still there at the end. “I’m very happy with that. In Qualifying here I managed a better feeling for the bike than I had in Jerez and each time I get on the KTM I understand it better and on track I have a better feeling for the other riders in the Rookies Cup. I concentrated on finishing both races in Spain but here I wanted more.”
“I realised that Tatay was too fast as he went away so I changed my plan to make it a battle for the podium and that is what I managed. It is going forward step by step and that is just what I want.”
Noguchi now stands third in the points chase, just in front of David Salvador who took a fine fourth. “It was difficult,” explained the 15-year-old Spaniard. “The start was not very good, but I was in the pack and it was a big fight. But I was very happy with the bike, on Friday I struggled with it a bit but the guys improved it and it was fun to ride today. So over the last two laps I really could go full gas and especially out of the last corner it worked.”
Battling at the front again was Lorenzo Fellon, the 14-year-old Frenchman had missed out on a Jerez podium and tried again. “I was happy enough to start from seventh but I made a bad start and terrible first lap. I had to work from there but with the slipstream I could get to the front of the group and often leading it going into the first corner.”
“I realised that that was probably not the best place to be going into the last lap so I changed my rhythm a bit to give the chance to a couple of riders to get in front but then at the end Baltus touched me, I got off line with Kunii and I lost a few places so I missed out on the podium.”
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