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Tenth year of Red Bull Rookies Cup begins in Jerez

Tenth year of Red Bull Rookies Cup begins in Jerez

A decade of Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup racing begins in Jerez this coming weekend with the first all KTM battles of the year.

Three days of testing in Jerez two weeks ago gave the 24 teenagers every opportunity to set up their KTM RC 250 Rs and they can’t wait for the proper action to begin.

A big act to follow

Last season, the opening weekend in Jerez saw Bo Bendsneyder snatch a Spanish Grand Prix double victory, the beginning of a five race winning streak that not only launched his Cup winning season but made him a natural fit for this year’s factory Red Bull KTM Ajo team. He now races alongside fellow ex-Rookie Brad Binder who leads the Moto3™ World Championship and the pair are shining examples for the current Rookies to follow.

With last year’s Moto3™ and Moto2™ world titles won by ex-Rookies the path to World Championship success has never been more clear and this year’s Rookies all know what is at stake.

Tied on top

If the test times from two weeks ago are a reliable guide to form a double win will not be easy for anyone this season as Raúl Fernández and Ayumu Sasaki shared the identical time at the top of the leaderboard. The Spanish and Japanese 15-year-olds had some memorable battles together last year and naturally start as favourites, not only for Jerez but the whole season.

Marc Garcia, the 16-year-old Spaniard who finished fourth just behind Sasaki in last year’s Cup chase, enters his third season. He has always been consistent and just needs to find that extra touch that will add to the single race victory he scored last year. He knows he must up the pace though as he was 11th quickest at the test and finished ninth and eighth at Jerez last year.

Newcomers

The Rookies Cup is always about new talent and the quickest of the first year Rookies at the test was Japanese 15-year-old Ai Ogura who recorded the seventh best time. The riders are all fast learners though so don’t be surprised if the lead pack in Race 1 has a good number of newcomers embroiled in the battle.

Some take time to come to the boil though and last year it was Rory Skinner who started out slow, double 17th in Jerez, and ended the season with pole and a double podium in Aragon. Unfortunately the young Scottish rider suffered a broken wrist during last weekend’s CEV event and looks set to miss the first round.

Broadcast

This weekend’s Rookies Cup races can be viewed live on motogp.com

Race 1 is at 16:30 CET on Saturday and Race 2 is on Sunday at 15:30, the show starts 10 minutes before the race.

Tags:
RookiesCup, 2016

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