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Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup: Hanika continues pole streak

Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup: Hanika continues pole streak

Karel Hanika keeps his run of Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup qualifying domination going with his third pole position of the season at Assen. Completing the front row of the grid behind the 17-year-old Czech are local hero Scott Deroue, also 17, and 16-year-old Briton Bradley Ray.

Hanika's time came from the first session as he proved the master of a drying track to head the opposition all the way. Over a second quicker than anyone else he lost the chance to improve further when he slid off early in the second session. "I probably did not quite let enough heat get into the tyres," he explained. "I thought they would be OK, I had done a couple of laps and there were a few guys ahead and I thought it was a good opportunity to chase after them I had a slide from the rear, saved it but it pushed the front away and that was it."

"It is a shame because I would have liked to go faster and the fall was not necessary. The setup should be okay for the race, I was having a bit of handlebar shake through the fast sections in the first session which was unsettling but the mechanics said they would fix it. They probably did but I didn't really get to test it in the second session, but that's my fault."

Ray closest in Q1

It was Ray who got closest to Hanika in the first session and he too fell in the second period before improving his time. "Just so much front end movement that it eventually tucked the front. We are still trying to get the bike to work the way we want and we seem to have gone backwards here."

He seemed to be sitting comfortably in a secure second on the timing chart as tyre wear took the edge off performance towards the end of the second 30 minute session. Then on the final lap Deroue nailed a perfect tour to grab second. "I could hardly believe I'd done it," reported Deroue. "I was lapping consistently towards the end but couldn't go any quicker. I realised that Joe (Roberts) was behind me so I let him past, get a gap then when after him. It worked perfectly. The tyre was completely destroyed at the end though."

What about the gap to Hanika though? "Karel can do these great laps," said Deroue. "Just like he did in Austin but he couldn't get away from the pack there. I think we can race with him," asserted the Dutchman.

Martin to fight

Jorge Martin, the 15-year-old Spaniard who lies second in the points table agrees with Deroue's assessment after qualifying fourth. "Karel can do great lap times but he doesn't always win the races, I think we can make it a close fight. I am happy with the improvement we made through practice, a lot of changes to the bike and some good steps forward, it is not perfect but I think good enough for a good race."


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