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Red Bull MotoGP Rookies complete Valencia session

Red Bull MotoGP Rookies complete Valencia session

It was a full week for the 24 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies. Following the two days in Jerez on Monday and Tuesday the season preparation continued with two days in Valencia on Thursday and Friday.

It was a full week for the 24 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies. Following the two days in Jerez on Monday and Tuesday the season preparation continued with two days in Valencia on Thursday and Friday.

Fastest in Valencia was Spaniard Luis Salom ahead of American JD Beach and newcomer Mathew Scholtz from South Africa.

It was a great performance from 15 year old Scholtz. In only his second test on the KTM RC 125 he finished just ahead of the more experienced Norwegian Sturla Fagerhaug and another newcomer, 14 year old Nelson Major from France.

It is great to see all the guys going so well, said Rider Coach Gustl Auinger. We have a wonderful group of kids here, all working well together and it is already very competitive. It is going to be a fantastic season.

After being second fastest at the start of the week in Jerez, 16 year old Salom was happy with the week in all. Yes very happy, everything seems to be going well. I was not so sure during the first day here yesterday, Valencia is not my favourite track. It´s good but I like Jerez more. Here the surface is a bit of a question, I am not confident in the grip, especially on a day like yesterday when it is cold and the day started wet.

Today is more fun though, the track temperature is up and there is a lot more grip and it is more predictable. I was not pushing too hard though, just being calm and making sure I didn´t make any mistakes.

American 16 year old JD Beach also had good reason to be satisfied after moving up from 6th in Jerez to be 2nd in Valencia. It´s really cool. I am happy because I was out there on my own and that is when I did my quick laps. I was going for it because I know what I´ve got to do this season.

Last year I was lucky enough to travel around with Cameron (Beaubier) and learn from a really fast guy what it takes to do well. This year I am trying to follow what I learnt from him. I am sure there is more to come from the bike also and we have some more stuff to work on at the next test in Estoril.

A damp track and overcast sky greeted the teenagers on Thursday in Valencia but the sun came out and the circuit soon dried during the first day. Friday was all sunshine and that helped lift everyone and lower the lap times. I am enjoying it a lot more today, said Scholtz, who hails from Durban and with a mop of blond hair looks as much a surfer as he does a road racer. The track temperature is up and there is a lot more grip. You´ve got to be a bit careful though, it isn´t the same everywhere. You´ve got to watch it braking into the last corner, the front end wants to slide away. It´s a great track, a lot of fun and the bike is working well.

He´s a charming kid who is as surprised as anyone to be mixing it with the much more experienced riders. He was fifth fastest in Jerez and quickest of the newcomers there as well. It´s a big surprise to be near the front. This year I was only hoping just to try and get into the top ten by the end of the season so I could go to the race in US, so this is quite a surprise. I´m looking forward to the next test in Estoril, to learn the track but also work on the bike as well, I think we can get the set up better.

Though it is all new to him the ex Karate champion should have no trouble handling the physical side of things. I´ve been keeping fit, riding motocross, running, swimming, working out at the gym so I think I should be OK fitness wise.

Another showing his clear intention to be right in the battle for the 2008 cup was 16 year old Norwegian Sturla Fagerhaug, fourth fastest both in Jerez and Valencia, a significant step forward from 2007. Not bad, a lot better than last year, fastest yesterday and fourth today. The bike is starting to work well but I know that we can work on it a bit more. I wasn´t pushing too hard in that last session and I thought I would try a bit more at the end but then I got stuck behind another rider for a couple of laps and couldn´t do it.

I know I just have to keep trying and make sure I do better than last year. I am looking forward to the next test in Estoril. It´s a great track, just very difficult in the chicane. I´m going to be pushing in Estoril for sure... and learning.

Fifth fastest overall and the second quickest newcomer was Major. It´s a great track, I am really enjoying it. There is also a lot to learn. The corners run together and that makes it difficult. Especially the last corner, the approach is very tricky and it is hard to judge exactly where to brake, you come over the hill, round the fast left hander then have to brake into the last tight left, not easy, he said on day one.

It´s going really well today, he added on Friday. I still need to work on my bike set up though. I am sliding both ends. Coming into the corners the front is moving a lot and it is hard to make the apexes, then on the gas the back slides and then suddenly grips so there is more to come from the bike. I am not pushing too hard, I am sure I can do better, he concluded, obviously getting used to the KTM and improving on his 13th position at the Jerez test.

For some riders things seemed to conspire against them when they needed a quick lap. The time isn´t what I wanted, said 15 year old German Daniel Kartheininger who was 7th fastest. I was getting into the groove and following Sturla and Salom, I was setting up for a good time but noticed the engine temperature was climbing and had to come into the pit to have some tape taken off the radiator.

Fastest in Jerez was 16 year old Englishman Matthew Hoyle but he was a little frustrated in Valencia and recorded the 6th best time. I know that I can get the bike working better. Last year here at the end of the season the bike was the best it was all year, really good. We need to look back at the setting I had then because at the moment it isn´t quite as good.

Valencia not my best track, I seem to go faster on tracks with quicker corners... but I´m learning, I´m getting better at the tight corners, Concluded Hoyle and he was not the only one to be disappointed because they couldn´t match the pace they had at Valencia during the final Cup race last season. It´s been fun, these tests but the times are not what they could be, said Deane Brown.

The 14 year old Scot finished second in that final race of 2007 behind Cup winner Johann Zarco I think everyone is down a bit on the race times from last year. I guess we are not up to speed yet. That must be my problem as well. That´s why I´m not really happy... you are only ever happy when you are fastest.

The same reason took the edge off things for 13 year old Japanese Daijiro Hiura who had scored a superb 9th there in his only 2007 Rookies race as a wild card. He was 13th quickest in Valencia after being 19th in Jerez. I need to work more on the front suspension, it is still too soft. But the bike set up is better than at the race last year... so I don´t know, said the youngster who was just a few hundredths quicker than fellow countryman 14 year old Sasuke Shinozaki.

Satisfied with their lap times or not the 24 Rookies all survived the four days of testing without injury though some tested their luck quite a bit. Austrian Nico Thöni crashed in both Friday morning sessions in Valencia, the second fall was dramatic with the bike and rider cart-wheeling into the gravel trap. I was on the gas and the back just stepped out, said the 12 year old who was very naturally well shaken by the experience.

Once he got is breath back he was able to explain that he was still very much enjoying the track. It´s great, there is a lot to learn and some of it I haven´t got quite right yet, including the first corner but I especially like the last corner. It is very tricky because you come round a fast left and downhill to it on the brakes, great fun.

Another double faller in the same sessions was 13 year old Italian Kevin Calia, I was just breaking into the corner and the front end slid away. He was a lot more frustrated when he f

MotoGP, 2008

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