Kazuki Masaki lifts Red Bull Rookies Cup crown

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Japanese rider Kazuki Masaki has lifted the 2017 Red Bull Rookies Cup crown with a race in hand, after taking a perfect victory over Ai Ogura by only a hundredth of a second at Motorland Aragon, after coming out victorious in a six-rider battle to the line in the penultimate race of the season.

The 17-year-old kept his cool, though, to make sure he was in the right place at the right time to win the development series in perfect style.

“I hung back a little because I knew I had the slipstream and didn’t want to catch him too early in the back straight. I got it just right and went into the last corner first. I went for the lead and tried to pull away but Viu came past again. So then I had to change my plan and catch the slipstream on the straight.

“It was a very tough race, I pushed from the first few laps but it became a big group and I just tried to stay near the front and then pushed again at the end. I really wanted to win the Cup today and not have to fight for it tomorrow, I’m very happy of course, very happy.”

Alex Viu joined him on the podium ahead of Turkish brothers Dan and Can Öncü in fourth and fifth. Scottish rider Rory Skinner came home in ninth in his final weekend in the class after three seasons, while Welsh teenager Dan Jones crashed out and is a question mark for the final race of the season on Sunday after suffering a broken foot and hand.

Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer