2020 marks the start of a new path on the Road to MotoGP™ and, after a pause to proceedings obliged by the Covid-19 pandemic, that path is now about to begin: the Northern Talent Cup is ready to race. A two-day test at Oschersleben got the grid in gear for Round 1, and now it’s time for the lights to go out for real as the Sachsenring hosts the first ever event for the NTC, with the field heading out on track on the 7th and 8th of September at the classic venue.
In testing it was Noel Malvin Willemson (NW Racing) who stamped some authority on the combined timesheets with a lap that put him half a second clear on Day 2, and the German rider remains on home turf as we head for Saxony. Romanian Jacopo Hosciuc (Hos Racing Team) was the consistent performer on both Saturday and Sunday of the test though, and he’ll be another feeling confident as we head into a race event. Are they favourites after that show of pace? Or will the timesheets shuffle at the very different Sachsenring?
Even if they do, the competition should remain as tight as testing teased. Oschersleben already proved there should be some fantastic battles lined up this season, with some big groups all close together on the timesheets. Take Day 2 – second and third were split by 0.042, fourth to tenth place split by less than four tenths, and tenth to fifteenth by less than three. The majority of the gaps between the 23 riders were better measured in hundredths or thousandths rather than tenths.
That is, after all, the goal of the newest path on the Road to MotoGP™: close competition and a chance for riders from northern and central European countries to take the next step in their careers. The calendar takes in some classic – and Grand Prix – tracks closer to home for many, and they’re all competing on identical KTM 250 Standards. It should be a recipe for more incredible racing, and a valuable stepping stone towards the future.
There is also a new name joining the Cup before the lights go out: Korbinian Brandl (RBR – Racing), as the German takes the remaining place on the grid this season. Two wildcards take part at the Sachsenring too: Dutch riders Thije Ligtermoed and Jur Wattel, both under the BB64 Academy umbrella, part of Moto2™ rider Bo Bendsneyder’s young rider initiative.
Keep up to date as the NTC and a new era on the Road to MotoGP™ begins, with the lights going out for Race 1 on Tuesday the 8th of September at 11:00 (GMT +2), and Race 2 getting in gear on the same day from 18:15.