Deniz Öncü does the double at Aragon

Billy Van Eerde 14th in Race 1 – DNF in Race 2


Deniz Öncü won his second Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup race of the year at Motorland Aragón, as the venue proved the perfect location for the Turk to display his talent and racecraft as he flashed across the line just ahead of local hero Xavi Artigas.

Red Bull Rookies MotoGP Cup Aragon Rnd Deniz Oncu leads
Deniz Oncu in the lead

A second perfectly judged victory from Deniz Öncü completed the twelfth season of the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup after an incredible 15 rider battle. The 15-year-old Turk had to use every gram of his quickly accumulating skills to fend off Carlos Tatay, Ryusei Yamanaka and the rest.

Australian Billy Van Eerde was 14th in Race 1, while recording a DNF result in Race 2.


Race 1

Czech 16-year-old Filip Salač had started the race tied on points with Deniz Öncü and seven ahead of 15-year-old Artigas as they all sat on the front row. Cruelly Salač was brought down when Meikon Kawakami crashed in front of him taking them both out of the intense lead battle that featured ten riders for much of the 15 laps.

Red Bull Rookies MotoGP Cup Aragon Rnd Pack
Red Bull Rookies MotoGP Cup

It was another fabulous KTM RC 250 R contest with a whole string of different leaders including 15-year-old Spaniard Carlos Tatay who would eventually finish third. No one could get clean away until the last three laps. One of the few stars not in that lead battle was Cup winner Can Öncü who languished in tenth, where he qualified.

Deniz Öncü

“It was a shame not to have him with me on the podium. But I am incredibly happy with the win. It was a very hard race, it was hot and I was thirsty. I was fighting at the front all the way but it was impossible to break away. I decided to play it cool until five or six laps to go and then pushed. Artigas was in front by a second or two and I went after him. We got away from the other riders and I passed him. Then I just concentrated on really making a perfect last lap so he couldn’t get me. It was a great race, the bike was fantastic and such a close battle, you can see the marks on my leathers.”

Red Bull Rookies MotoGP Cup Aragon Rnd Deniz Oncu
Deniz Öncü
Xavier Artigas

“I’m happy with that, yes I really am. Happy to be second at my home race and it was a great race. It was very hot, the bike was sliding a lot but I was able to battle. Then I had a strange problem with the front brake being unpredictable, it was good then not, then it was good again. That is where I lost the edge and couldn’t challenge Denis at the last few corners. Still there is another race tomorrow and another chance to win,” he concluded, now standing 12 points behind Deniz Öncü in the race for second in the Cup and 13 ahead of Salač with 25 on offer from Sunday’s final race.

Red Bull Rookies MotoGP Cup Aragon Rnd Xavier Artigas
Xavier Artigas

Tatay was back on the podium where he started the season, with second and first in Jerez.

Carlos Tatay

“Yes it’s great to be back, it was a super hard race, fighting all the way, swapping places every corner, so many riders. I kept cool and just pushed at the end. Xavi and Deniz had got way, there was nothing we could do about that but I wanted third. I knew I should not lead onto the back straight on the last lap and I put myself in the right position for the slipstream,” explained Tatay. “It was still hard at the end of the straight, I was waiting, waiting to brake, was in so deep but managed to turn and get through. Such a good feeling to be third and I hope for another great race tomorrow.”

Red Bull Rookies MotoGP Cup Aragon Rnd Carlos Tatay
Carlos Tatay

Happy Colombian 18-year-old Steward Garcia was fourth.

Steward Garcia

“Wow that was an exciting race, fighting, fighting. So many guys together. I didn’t qualify well, just 13th but I pushed hard and got through to the front. Fourth is good, but I so want to be on the podium in my last Rookies race tomorrow. I will be on the podium tomorrow,” asserted the sweaty teen.”

Can Öncü already has the Cup title, but he didn’t think much of tenth.

Can Öncü

“I got onto the back straight on the first lap in the position to pick up the slipstream but the bike just didn’t have it. I don’t know, the guys had swapped bikes for me in qualifying but it wasn’t working. Sure I am not feeling 100%, I’m a bit sick but that isn’t all of it. I hope everything can be better in Race 2. It was great to see my brother win and I want him to have another great race tomorrow.”

Red Bull Rookies Race 1

  1. Deniz ÖNCÜ TUR 30’45.838
  2. Xavier ARTIGAS SPA +0.548
  3. Carlos TATAY SPA +4.736
  4. Steward GARCIA COL +5.108
  5. Adrian CARRASCO SPA +5.271
  6. Yuki KUNII JPN +5.335
  7. Dan JONES GBR +5.361
  8. Ryusei YAMANAKA JPN +6.471
  9. Sean KELLY USA +6.614
  10. Can ÖNCÜ TUR +15.448
  11. Barry BALTUS BEL +6.761
  12. Max COOK GBR +15.493
  13. Simon JESPERSENz +15.497
  14. Billy VAN EERDE AUS +15.603

Race 2

A single second covered the first seven at the line and there were at least that many leaders through the 15 laps in Race 2, with Deniz Oncu once again claiming victory, to make it two for two over the weekend, ending the weekend on a high, with second overall in the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup. It was a very happy young man who sang along with his national anthem on the podium.

Deniz Öncü

“It was another great race and I am so happy to win it and have second in the Cup behind my brother. It was hot and we were fighting all the way. I tried to get away but it was crazy overtaking all the time. The Spanish tried to block me but I just thought; that’s OK I am Turkish I will win.”

Red Bull Rookies MotoGP Cup Aragon Rnd Deniz Oncu
Deniz Öncü

Spanish 15-year-old Tatay was almost as pleased with second, having been third on Saturday.

Carlos Tatay

“I was thinking, thinking about the last lap and where I had to be. I really worked at it from when I saw three laps to go on my board. I managed to put myself second coming down the back straight on the last lap and tried to slipstream past Deniz but couldn’t do it. It’s been a great season, I learnt so much, I already can’t wait for next year.”

Red Bull Rookies MotoGP Cup Aragon Rnd Carlos Tatay
Carlos Tatay

For Yamanaka, the 16-year-old Japanese, third was less than perfect.

Ryusei Yamanaka

“I wanted to win, I did everything possible. It was a very hard race, everyone was pushing so hard in the last race, very hard riding, very hard overtaking. Then there was a crash going onto the back straight on the last lap and I just wasn’t in the right place to try and win.”

Red Bull Rookies MotoGP Cup Aragon Rnd Ryusei Yamanaka
Ryusei Yamanaka

Yuki Kunii was a fine fourth, the 15-year-old Japanese backing up his sixth from Saturday.

Yuki Kunii

“I got a good start from 15th and I worked hard. Mid race I was fourth or fifth but it was hard to get further forward. I could not overtake Deniz who was in front and someone else then passed me and I got pushed back to seventh or eighth so I had to work my way forward again. I tried to pass Yamanaka at the end but the tyre was sliding a lot and I couldn’t.”

Red Bull Rookies Race 2

  1. Deniz ÖNCÜ TUR 30’47.814
  2. Carlos TATAY SPA +0.249
  3. Ryusei YAMANAKA JPN +0.784
  4. Yuki KUNII JPN +0.853
  5. Xavier ARTIGAS SPA +0.903
  6. Steward GARCIA COL +1.049
  7. Filip SALAC CZE +1.098
  8. Can ÖNCÜ TUR +3.661
  9. Sean KELLY USA +3.662
  10. Peetu PAAVILAINEN FIN +3.696
    …DNF. Billy VAN EERDE
Red Bull Rookies MotoGP Cup Aragon Rnd Xavier Artigas Deniz Oncu Ryusei Yamanaka
Xavier Artigas, Deniz Oncu, Ryusei Yamanaka – Red Bull Rookies MotoGP Cup season final

Red Bull Rookies Final Standings

  1. ÖNCÜ Can TUR 235
  2. ÖNCÜ Deniz TUR 192
  3. ARTIGAS Xavier SPA 166
  4. SALAC Filip CZE 151
  5. TATAY Carlos SPA 148
  6. YAMANAKA Ryusei JPN 141
  7. CARRASCO Adrian SPA 83
  8. GARCIA Steward COL 76
  9. KUNII Yuki JPN 70
  10. KELLY Sean USA 65
  11. BALTUS Barry BEL 60
  12. HUERTAS Adrian SPA 47
  13. PAAVILAINEN Peetu FIN 43
  14. KAWAKAMI Meikon BRA 34
  15. JONES Dan GBR 33
  16. DE VITS Sasha BEL 29
  17. SALIM Gerry INA 23
  18. COOK Max GBR 23
  19. VAN EERDE Billy AUS 16

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