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The 2018 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup reaches the half-way point when they head to the Sachsenring for races six and seven of the season.
Can Oncu leads the way after the first five races of the season as the 14-year-old Turk visits the circuit for a second time, with his nearest Cup challenger since the start of the season being Spanish 15-year-old Carlos Tatay. After two good rides in Assen, Czech 16-year-old Filip Salač is now tied on points with Tatay, but he needs a brilliant Sachsenring to take the Championship lead off Oncu before his home round at Brno.
Twin brother Deniz Oncu is fourth in the title chase, just three points behind Tatay and Salač but a full 52 adrift of his bigger brother. It was Deniz who won Race 1 so convincingly last year in very tricky conditions and was going great guns in Race 2 before being forced out with a technical issue. Can Oncu won Race 2 following his third in the first outing.
Salač missed most of the 2017 season through injury so he's calling on his memories from his first Cup season in 2016. He should be fighting for podium places, with 15-year-old Spaniard Xavier Artigas closing in on his points tally after a solid Assen round - he sits fifth in the table.
Artigas shared the podium with Ryusei Yamanaka on Saturday in the Netherlands and the 16-year-old Japanese rider now sits sixth in the title chase, but is still looking for consistency in his second Cup season as he slid off in Race 2. Fellow countryman Yuki Kunii is seventh in the points table after winning in Mugello, but he missed Assen through injury. He hopes his left hand is strong enough to race after undergoing surgery a couple of weeks ago.
Coming on strong this year is newcomer Barry Baltus. The 14-year-old Belgian - who is the youngest rider in the Cup - has scored well in all five races and sits eighth. He has five more points than American 16-year-old Sean Kelly, who has really stepped up in his third Cup season, leading briefly in Assen after qualifying on the front row but unfortunately slid off in Race 2.
Can Oncu is at the helm at a pivotal point in the season, can the Championship gap close on German soil?
2 days ago