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.

Red Bull Rookies Cup Aragon Billy Van Eerde Noguchi Escrig
Billy van Eerde beat Haruki Noguchi and Alex Escrig to the line

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.”

Red Bull Rookies Cup Aragon Billy Van Eerde
Billy van Eerde

“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.

Red Bull Rookies Cup Aragon Billy Van Eerde
Billy van Eerde

Only 8-tenths separated the top seven at the chequered flag. 

Red Bull Rookies Cup Aragon Billy Van Eerde Jack Miller
Billy van Eerde with Jack Miller

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. 

Red Bull Rookies Cup Aragon Billy Van Eerde Noguchi Escrig
Billy van Eerde beat Haruki Noguchi and Alex Escrig to the line

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.

Red Bull Rookies Cup Aragon Lorenzo Fellon Pedro Acosta Haruki Noguchi David Salvador
5 Lorenzo Fellon, 37 Pedro Acosta, 56 Haruki Noguchi & 38 David Salvador

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.

Red Bull Rookies Cup Aragon Marcos Uriarte Haruki Noguchi Pedro Acosta Barry Baltus
89 Marcos Uriarte, 56 Haruki Noguchi, 37 Pedro Acosta & 7 Barry Baltus

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.”

Red Bull Rookies Cup Aragon Marcos Uriarte Haruki Noguchi Pedro Acosta Lorenzo Fellon
89 Marcos Uriarte, 56 Haruki Noguchi, 37 Pedro Acosta & 5 Lorenzo Fellon

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.

Red Bull Rookies Cup Aragon Salvador Baltus Fellon
Salvador, Baltus, Fellon

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
1BILLY VAN EERDEAustralia30m57.794
3ALEX ESCRIGSpain+0.262
4PEDRO ACOSTASpain+0.284
5MARIO AJIIndonesia+0.565
7MAX COOKUnited Kingdom+0.810
8GABIN PLANQUESFrance+12.294
9DAIJIRO SAKOJapan+20.902
10PHILLIP TONNGermany+39.079
11NOAH DETTWILERSwitzerland+50.201
12TYLER SCOTTUnited States+50.253
13ZONTA VAN DEN GOORBERGHNetherlands+1m26.764
14AIDAN LIEBENBERGSouth Africa+1m39.687
NCBARRY BALTUSBelgium+7 laps
NCJASON DUPASQUIERSwitzerland+8 laps
NCARTEM MARAEVRussia+11 laps
Red Bull Rookies Cup Aragon Billy Van Eerde
Billy van Eerde
Red Bull Rookies Cup Points
9MAX COOKUnited Kingdom79
16MARIO AJIIndonesia32
23TYLER SCOTTUnited States9
24NOAH DETTWILERSwitzerland6
Bol dOr Moto Ain

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