American JD Beach earned two second-place finishes behind Spaniard Luis Salom at the opening round of the 2008 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup, March 29-30.
The two victories for the 16-year-old Spaniard were part of a dominating performance for Spanish racers in their country’s home track, led by Dani Pedrosa’s win in the MotoGP race. Pedrosa presented Salom with the trophy for his two wins.
“It has been a perfect weekend. I knew that I had a good chance here because testing had gone well and I like the track, but it does not get any better than this,” says Salom. “Obviously, after the first race I was confident, but with racing you never know. And that is the way I am thinking about the next race. Estoril is a very different track and I think it will be closer racing.”
On the Saturday race, Salom claimed victory after a dramatic crash by fellow Spaniard Christian Trabalon, who crashed on the final corner. This turn of events capped off a race featuring several crashes, including 14-year-old Sasuke Shinozaki’s spill on the seventh lap during a six-man battle for third. Shinozaki’s bike hit Matthew Hoyle’s, knocking them both out of the race. Neither racer was injured. Beach managed a respectable second place finish despite problems with his bike.
“The bike just started playing up quite early on. It was spluttering and losing power,” says Beach. “I just did what I could to hang on to second.”
Sunday’s race was less dramatic, but had a closer finish. Salom led for most of the race, but hit a bit of grass with a lap and a half remaining. That gave Beach the chance to gain some ground.
“I came round the corner and there was this big cloud of dust and I realized what had happened,” says Beach. “I tried to push then and see if I could get him but then I made a small mistake and realized it wasn't going to happen. I knew that third place was quite a way back and settled for second.”
Beach finished two seconds off of Salom’s time, but much closer than the 10-second margin from the first race. Deane Brown from Great Britain followed five seconds later for third to duplicate the podium results from the first race.