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Last year's Mugello round of the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup was a stunner. Aren't they all? - You say. Well yes, but what a stage, what a race, what a finish! It was Yuki Kunii who took victory by 0.031 seconds from eventual Cup Champion Can Öncü and less than a full second covered the top eleven across the line.
This time the Japanese 16-year-old wheels his KTM RC 250 R out onto the hallowed tarmac as joint Cup leader with Carlos Tatay. The Spaniard has turned 16 since the pair shared the podiums with a win and a second place each in Jerez. In Mugello there is only a single race as the post MotoGP track invasion by the fans denies the possibility of a Rookies race on Sunday.
Red Bull MotoGP™ Rookies Cup - Round 1, Race 1 in Jerez
So it will all come down to 15 laps on Saturday afternoon to decide how the glory is distributed after the usual two free practice sessions and a single qualifying session on Friday.
As always with Rookies Cup when we are setting up for a Tatay/Kunii contest something completely different will happen. Of course Belgian 15-year-old Barry Baltus already took the battle to those two in Jerez, chasing them across the line in Race 1 and determined to do more in Race 2 until an unlucky collision saw him fall.
Red Bull MotoGP™ Rookies Cup - Round 1, Race 2 in Jerez
With Mugello being such a slipstreaming circuit it is very likely that the pack that chased in Jerez will make it a ten or more rider battle for the lead in Italy. So add in a couple of 15-year-old first year Rookies, Spaniard David Salvador and Matteo Bertelle who took 3rd in Race 2 in Jerez and will have the local fans waving their tricolour in support.
Another three striped flag, the French, will be supporting 14-year-old Lorenzo Fellon, a Rookie newbie who lost his place on the Race 2 Jerez podium thanks to exceeding track limits. A hard warning to him and the other 24 Rookies chasing success in the Tuscan hills.
1 year ago