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After the drama and thrills of Assen we rush straight into the intensity of the Sachsenring and the fifth and sixth races of the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup season. No one could have predicted Can Öncü’s total domination of both qualifying and the two races in the Netherlands last weekend so it makes no sense to bet against the 13-year-old Turk's chances in Germany.
It is a very different circuit of course, with the elevation changes and tight twists making it a tough one to learn for all the newcomers including Can and his twin brother Deniz, who was also impressive at Assen with a close fifth in Race 2. Kazuki Masaki, the 16-year-old Japanese rider, is another who doesn’t waste time learning new tracks - with a pair of rostrum finishes at Assen backing up his third in Jerez.
Third year Rookie Aleix Viu still leads the points table with a win from Jerez, and second and third at Assen, but he is now only six points ahead of Can Öncü. As he said after Race 2 in Assen, he knows very well that he can’t let the opposition charge away at the start as they did there, leaving him to chase.
The home crowd are always very vocal at the Sachsenring, with its soccer stadium atmosphere and they will be cheering hard for their men, Kevin Orgis and Matthias Meggle. Both stepped up a level in Assen with 17-year-old Orgis qualifying on the front row and very much in the hunt for a rostrum place. 16-year-old Meggle joined him in the battle at the front, took a great fourth in Race 1, but they both slid off in Race 2 at the final chicane.
They have thoughts of their first Rookies Cup wins at their home race, even though they know just how tough it will be as they are in their second Rookies Cup seasons.
Assen wasn’t just about the Öncü twins, with 15-year-old Scot Rory Skinner second fastest in practice and fifth in Race 1. Race 2 was a disappointment for him but not for Steward Garcia who scored a brilliant fourth, and the 17-year-old Colombian hopes that it is his breakthrough ride.
Italian 15-year-old Omar Bonoli has started this year with a string of solid rides, a sixth and three seventh places, to lie fifth in the points chase behind Masaki and Skinner - so perhaps he can also wind it up a notch in Germany.
This weekend's Rookies Cup races can be seen live on www.redbull.tv and on TV stations around the world.
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.
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