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15 days ago
By motogp.com

Back to school for the Red Bull Rookies

The Red Bull MotoGP™ Rookies Cup kicks off in Jerez for the first two races of the 2018 season.

The Red Bull Rookies Cup returns this weekend at the Gran Premio Red Bull de España, as the best teen racing series in the world gets underway for its 12th season. The series is famous for its thrilling racing on identical KTM machines, and for producing future World Champions – who of the 25 young protagonists will fight for the title this year?

Two of the pre-season favorites for 2018 Cup glory are Turkish twins Deniz and Can Öncü. The 14-year-olds starred last season, as Can finished in third place after battling for the title with four victories to his name, while Deniz finished just behind him with two wins across 2017.

The two will have a real battle on their hands in 2018 though, and not just with each other. 16-year-old Czech Filip Salač, 15-year-old Spaniard Adrián Carrasco and Japanese 16-year-old Ryusei Yamanaka look like strong contenders for the Championship this year. Having said that, any one of 13 newcomers genuinely have a real chance to take the title at the end of the 12-race season.

Quickest of the new Rookies at the test was Spaniard Carlos Tatay, who turns 15 years old the Monday after the GP. He was slightly quicker than American Sean Kelly, who turns 16 later this month, while newcomer Yuki Kunii was seventh fastest, less than a second off the pace set by Can Öncü.

The top four at the test were all under the lap record, with less than three seconds covered the field. As usual, the weekend starts with two 30-minute free practice sessions on Friday, followed by 25 minutes of qualifying. The first race of the season is 16 laps on Saturday at 16:30 local time, with the lights going out for race two on Sunday, 15:30 local time.

You can watch both races live on motogp.com

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