MotoGP Rookies win in Valencia

AMA Rookie reaches podium despite breaking toe

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Oct. 28, 2008, Photography by GEPA pictures
The MotoGP Rookies won the Valencia portion of the Red Bull Riders Cup despite an improved effort from the AMA Rookies.

British teen Matthew Hoyle led the way for the MotoGP squad in a 91-49 win in the Oct. 25 race in Valencia, Spain. Though they still lost by a fair margin, the AMA Rookies improved on the 114-26 score in the first half of the Riders Cup in Indianapolis, Ind. in September.

Jacob Gagne finished third in Valencia to record the top finish by an AMA Rookie in either Riders Cup race. Leandro Mercado also notched a sixth-place finish for the AMA squad while Tomas Puerta and Hayden Gillim finished ninth and tenth. In Indianapolis, the MotoGP Rookies swept the top seven spots.

The race was held in dry conditions following wet practice and qualifying sessions. Racing on the unfamiliar Valencia’s Ricardo Tormo Circuit under tough weather conditions, the AMA Rookies were at a disadvantage.

Matthew Hoyle saved his best for last, earning his first Red Bull Rookies win in his final race.The slippery conditions took a toll on all riders as many of them crashed during qualifying but 13-year-old Gillim recorded the best time at 2:02.032 to win the pole for the AMA Rookies.

“All the boys from both teams did a great job this weekend,” said riders coach Kevin Schwantz. “The Red Bull AMA U.S. Rookies Cup team had the toughest situation possible with having to learn the track in the wet and then have a dry race. All of our team were able to keep it up on two wheels and finish the race. We learned a lot this weekend and I think every rider came through in the race.”

Jacob Gagne stayed close behind Luis Salom for most of the race before a high-side on lap 11.When the race began however, it was the MotoGP Rookies that took the early lead. Markus Reiterberger took the holeshot but Hoyle took control before the first lap was over. The 17-year-old stretched his lead to seven seconds after four laps, and won by over six seconds.

The win was the first for Hoyle in the Rookies program.

“Finally my first Rookies win. It’s what I came here for and I’m so glad to get it in my last Rookies race,” says Hoyle. “The bike was working well and having won races on my way to the British Championship this year I knew what to do. I just settled into a rhythm and kept my concentration going.”

Jacob Gagne needed help to get on the podium but it was his own determination that earned it.Gagne, a native of Ramona, Calif., qualified in seventh but climbed as high as second place after the second lap. By lap six however, Gagne lost his position to MotoGP Rookies Cup runner-up Luis Salom. Gagne stayed on the Spanish teen’s tail until he nearly crashed out in a high-side on lap 11. Gagne’s KTM RC125 ran over his left foot, breaking his big toe but was able to continue the race to finish third.

“It just snapped round on me and I only just managed to stay on it,” says Gagne about the incident. “Sure it hurt my foot and made it hard to change direction on the bike after that. I just had to tough it out to the finish.”

Gagne had to be carried onto the podium but the experience more than made up for the pain.

“I’m really happy with the race today,” says Gagne. “A podium felt really good.”

Red Bull Riders Cup - Valencia top ten results
Pos. Rider Team Time
1st Matthew Hoyle MotoGP 30:34.005
2nd Luis Salom MotoGP +6.170
3rd Jacob Gagne AMA +26.016
4th Florian Marino MotoGP +29.252
5th Nelson Major MotoGP +29.432
6th Leandro Mercado AMA +29.755
7th Jakub Kornfeil MotoGP +30.020
8th Markus Reiterberger MotoGP +30.217
9th Tomas Puerta AMA +48.048
10th Hayden Gillem AMA +48.812