Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup: Hanika leads heading home

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Six races remain in the 2013 season and the first of those is at Brno in the Czech Republic this coming Saturday.

The GP stars, including ex Rookie Arthur Sissis who led the opening laps of the Moto3™ Red Bull Indianapolis GP and Luis Salom, who heads the Moto3™ World Championship, come back across the Atlantic as most of the current Rookies are shaking off the summer break cobwebs to get back on their KTMs.

Active in other championships, 15-year-old German Aris Michail was on the podium in the IDM Moto3 round in Schleiz while Tarran Mackenzie, the 17-year-old Scot, won his third British Moto3 championship race at Oulton Park and 16-year-old Californian Joe Roberts won his fifth AMA Pro Supersport race at Miller Motorsports Park.

Hanika leads from Martin

While great success elsewhere is wonderful, the ultimate prize is the Rookies Cup and the springboard it provides for a rider's Grand Prix career. It is 17-year-old Czech Karel Hanika who comes to his home GP with a handsome, 42-point lead over 15-year-old Spaniard Jorge Martin, but both know how quickly that situation can change. When Hanika crashed out of Race 1 at the Sachsenring, Martin took victory and 25 points. The lead suddenly looked very small, but the next day the positions were reversed in Race 2 and Hanika's advantage re-established.

Last year at Brno, Hanika scored a Race 1 victory and zero points in Race 2 thanks to an early fall. This year there is only a single Saturday race thanks to the work required to prepare the bikes and set up across Europe at Silverstone for the two British GP races. Three races in nine days could see the face of the championship change completely.

Roberts on form

Hanika knows the track well and has a home advantage, but also the added pressure. Martin is in great form and an obvious threat. Similarly, Roberts is on top of his game and determined to prove that he can ride the Moto3 bike as well as he can the 600. He won in the wet at Brno on the Saturday in 2012 and set a new lap record in the dry on the Sunday. That record still stands and Roberts was second in Race 2 last year - no wonder it is one of his favourite circuits.

The Italian threat

It was Stefano Manzi who was third in that race last year and the 14-year-old Italian has hit top form of late, with second places at Assen and the Sachsenring. He lies third in the points table and still has a shot at the title.

The track takes some learning but that is true of all GP circuits and Italian first year Rookies like 15-year-old Enea Bastianini and 17-year-old Manuel Pagliani have not let that slow them down much. They stand fourth and fifth in the title chase, just ahead of fellow newcomer Toprak Razgatlıoğlu, the 16-year-old Turk who has kept his skills up in the summer break staring both on a 600 and supermotard at home.

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