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By Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup

Home to the Red Bull Ring for the Rookies Cup

It will be a weekend to remember for the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup, racing at the Red Bull Ring for the first time

It’s the tenth year of the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup, and the upcoming NeroGiardini Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich will see the series race at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria, for the first time.

A party in the paddock on Friday evening will give everyone the chance to relive some of the 112 races raced so far, with 41 different winners, as well as looking forward to the seven remaining this year.

The 24 Rookies ready for races seven and eight this coming weekend are part of the 144 riders from 30 different countries who have been fortunate enough to race at some of the best Grand Prix circuits in the world on the series’ KTMs.

Many of today’s Rookies had barely gripped a handlebar when Johann Zarco won the first Cup in 2007 and since then the 26-year-old Frenchman has added 13 Grand Prix wins to his 4 Cup victories. He won the Moto2™ World title last year, is topping the points this season and is due to join Thursday’s celebrations. Another guest is Brad Binder, who leads this year’s Moto3™ points table, chasing a title won last year by fellow former Red Bull Rookie Danny Kent. They are just some of the successful ex-Rookies - with 4 active this year in Moto2 and 15 in Moto3.

Those who have graduated to the GP classes have so far gained 127 podiums including 44 Grand Prix victories.

For this year’s Rookies though the priority is their Cup races on Saturday and Sunday, with 15-year-old Ayumu Sasaki heading the championship table. The Japanese rider is chased by a pair of 15-year-old Spaniards; Raúl Fernández, who is 17 points behind, with Aleix Viu a further 15 back. With 175 points still to be won there is everything to play for as the Cup season rolls into its second half this weekend.

It is a new circuit for everyone and with all the riders now well used to the KTM RC 250 R it is a good opportunity for one of the first year Rookies to spring a surprise. The best of the newbies so far is Filip Salač, the 14-year-old Czech rider stands tenth in the points table and his best result is the sixth he scored in Race 2 at Assen - so a win would be a big jump.

It would be less of a stretch for Ai Ogura, as the 15-year-old Japanese was already third in Race 1 at Assen is the only first year Rookie to have stood on the podium so far - but he has been inconsistent and finds himself 12th in the title chase. Between the two is Rory Skinner, with the 14-year-old Scot is only back there because he missed races 1 and 2 and was brought down in Race 3 - he could be the man to shake things up at the Red Bull Ring.

As this year’s Rookies aim to follow in the footsteps of Johann Zarco, Brad Binder and the other Grand Prix winning alumni, the next group of young riders looking for World Championship stardom are applying online for the selection process leading to the 2017 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup.