Billy van Eerde wins Aragon thriller
Advance Australia Fair has not been heard on the Rookies Cup rostrum for a long time but Billy van Eerde continued his remarkable season turn-around with a superb last corner move that bettered Haruki Noguchi, Alex Escrig and Pedro Acosta in Motorland Aragón.
The 17-year-old only qualified 11th and admitted that he had no thoughts of winning going into the race. “I was looking to be racing in the front group,” he explained frankly. “Then mid race I was feeling good on the bike and realised that I could push a bit harder. I kept going and the bike was working a lot better than it did in practice.”
“On the last lap I concentrated on putting myself in the right place down the back straight to pick up the slipstream and it worked. The guys did a great job with the bike and we are talking about some small changes for race 2 because it is still moving around a bit in the long corners so it could be even better,” explained van Eerde.
Only 8-tenths separated the top seven at the chequered flag.
That hefty haul of 25-points has promotes Billy up to eighth place in the championship standings. Importantly, it has also moved him to within striking distance of sixth place should he have another really strong performance on Sunday. Considering Billy scored no points in the opening four races in what is only an 11 race series, the youngster is certainly finishing the season with a flourish.
18-year-old Japanese rider Noguchi ran him very close but just lost out with a last corner slide. “Yes, it was a great race but the back had been moving around a bit and it slid again at the last corner. Still I enjoyed the race, it was a lot of fun. I’m not upset with myself, I planned to be in that position on the last lap and it all worked but for that slide. We will try again tomorrow,” stated Noguchi.
Escrig was thrilled to be on the podium but thought it might be even better. “Down the back straight I had Pedro’s slipstream and as I went past into the lead I thought I was going to win it,” smiled the 15-year-old. “Then Haruki and Noguchi came past like rockets! Still it was a good race. It went well from the start, I took things easy early on then after 5 laps started to attack. The bike was great and we will not make any changes for tomorrow.”
Acosta was Mr. Cool and took an apparently casual approach from 9th on the grid, even more relaxed than his Misano progression which resulted in the brilliant win. “Yes I was cautious early, I didn’t want to risk a crash in the opening laps,” explained the 15-year-old. “Then I worked my way forward until I was third and stayed around there until the end of the race. Then on the last lap I thought, ‘This is your moment’ and I took the lead. I thought I could do it from there but the slipstream and the last corner did not work out. Still I think I did a good race, the bike was good, nothing to change so we will try again tomorrow,” stated Acosta.
An impressive fifth was Mario Aji and the 15-year-old Indonesian expects more from Sunday. “I concentrated on staying in the top group, that is what I did not manage in Misano. I am getting more experience and I enjoyed the race. We will change the gearing for tomorrow because it was too short and I could not take advantage of the slipstream. That’s going to make quite a difference.”
Cup winner Carlos Tatay has already taken up his Moto3 ride but there were others missing from the result after an unusual number of fallers. David Salvador and Barry Baltus touched and both fell in the heat of the lead battle. Early leader Marcos Uriarte slid off on his own.
The final 2019 outing for the KTM RC 250 Rs on Sunday gives them one more chance to improve their final championship standing.
Red Bull Rookies Cup Aragon Race One Results
|1||BILLY VAN EERDE||Australia||30m57.794|
|7||MAX COOK||United Kingdom||+0.810|
|12||TYLER SCOTT||United States||+50.253|
|13||ZONTA VAN DEN GOORBERGH||Netherlands||+1m26.764|
|14||AIDAN LIEBENBERG||South Africa||+1m39.687|
|NC||MARCOS URIARTE||Spain||+6 laps|
|NC||DAVID SALVADOR||Spain||+7 laps|
|NC||BARRY BALTUS||Belgium||+7 laps|
|NC||JASON DUPASQUIER||Switzerland||+8 laps|
|NC||CLEMENT ROUGE||France||+8 laps|
|NC||ARTEM MARAEV||Russia||+11 laps|
|NC||MATTEO BERTELLE||Italy||+0 lap|
Red Bull Rookies Cup Points
|8||BILLY VAN EERDE||Australia||90|
|9||MAX COOK||United Kingdom||79|
|13||ZONTA VAN DEN GOORBERGH||Netherlands||51|
|23||TYLER SCOTT||United States||9|
|25||AIDAN LIEBENBERG||South Africa||4|