Race stewards awarded Daniel Ruiz victory in the second Red Bull Rookies race on the Assen circuit in the Netherlands on Saturday after penalizing first across the line Danny Kent for overtaking going into the final corner when riders were under the yellow flag.
It was the 18-year-old Spaniard’s second win in this series that pit talented young riders on identical KTM 125 road racers against each others as part of the MotoGP weekend. Harry Stafford of Britain, fourth in Friday’s race finished on the podium in third place for his first ever Rookies podium.
The race was another show stopper with a clutch of seven riders battling it out for line honours in what is surely one of the most hungrily fought of international motorcycle road racing competitions. As in Friday’s race, 16-year-old Alex Kristiansson of Sweden was in the thick of the action and made the best start of the day. But he was soon hunted down by Ruiz and Kent who settled in to tehn16 lap race to trade the lead and test each other right through the race. Pole man Daijiro Hiura missed the start for the second time in two days but charged up into contention from tenth place in the opening laps.
The hunt was on between Ruiz, Kent, Kristiansson, Hiura and Stafford, shadowed by Jake Gagne and Kevin Calia who were first and second on Friday. But the 15-year-old Japanese rider stopped with six laps to go after his fuel line came loose while Kristiansson slowed to avoid him and lost contact with the front group.
As is typical of the competition the race was decided in the final few minutes Kent went after Ruiz going into the chicane and missed seeing the yellow flag. He crossed the line up front only to have the result overturned by the stewards.
The win vaulted Ruiz into the championship lead with 84 points. Kent is second just one point behind Hiura’s DNF meant he dropped down to overall third. The competition is so tight however that it is still anyone’s title.
1 Daniel RUIZ, Spain, 28’55.822 (150.717 Km/h)
2 Danny KENT, Britain, at 0.08828’55.734 (150.725 Km/h)
3 Harry STAFFORD, Britain, at 0.15728’55.891 (150.711 Km/h)
4 Jacob GAGNE, USA, at 0.41328’56.147 (150.689 Km/h)
5 Kevin CALIA, Italy, at 0.46628’56.200 (150.684 Km/h)
1, Daniel Ruiz, Spain, 84
2, Danny Kent, Britain, 83
3, Daijiro Hiura, Japan, 72
4. Jacob Gagne, USA, 67
5. Kevin Calia, Italy, 48