Morelli and Carpe take top honours at Jerez in Red Bull Rookies opening round

It was a dramatic opening round to the 2024 season with two last-lap battles to decide the podium

The first round of the 2024 Red Bull Rookies Cup season has concluded after two brilliant races at the iconic Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto. The opening round gave everything you could ask for, with the podium positions being decided at the final corner on the final lap.

Stealing the spotlight after the opening round was Alvaro Carpe (Red Bull Rookies - Spain), who is now at the top of the standings. The top step of the podium was shared throughout the weekend between Carpe and Marco Morelli (Red Bull Rookies - Argentina), with the latter starting his season in style, winning the opening race of the year. On Sunday the top honours went the way of Carpe – taking 25 vital points.

Race 1

Race 1 of the Red Bull Rookies Cup season was dramatic from the word go, with Brian Uriarte storming to the front of the field. Some key contenders crashed in the early stages of the race, including Dodo Boggio (Red Bull Rookies - Italy), Carter Thompson (Red Bull Rookies - Australia), and Veda Pratama (Red Bull Rookies - Indonesia).

As the race progressed, a fierce front group quickly formed, consisting of nine riders, with everyone trying to set themselves up for victory. Morelli was keeping calm in seventh, waiting for the perfect opportunity to pounce. The #95 was behind compatriot Valentin Perrone (Red Bull Rookies - Argentina), who dropped down to sixth after running wide in an attempt to take the lead.

It was a thrilling final five laps, with Carpe soon taking the top spot, as the front group began to push. Countless moves exhanged with the race lead changing every sector in the closing stages. Hakim Danish (Red Bull Rookies - Malaysia) and Ruche Moodley (Red Bull Rookies - South Africa) crashed on the penultimate lap, changing the complexion of the last lap.

The final corner was full of drama, with Uriarte crashing, running Rico Salmela (Red Bull Rookies - Finland) wide, and allowing Morelli to steal the race lead. Morelli took victory in an Argentina one-two, with Perrone charging hard behind in second. Maximo Quiles (Red Bull Rookies - Spain) rounded off the podium after being able to hold off Carpe in fourth. Salmela rounded out the top five positions, ahead of Uriarte, who salvaged a sixth-place finish.

Race 2

Race 2 for the Red Bull Rookies Cup was as dramatic as the first. Pole sitter Quiles was unable to get a good start, dropping down the field on the run to turn 1 with a huge task ahead. Meanwhile, Moodley’s start was too good to be true – receiving a double LLP. Uriate, Danish, and Morelli shared first place throughout the opening lap, with the Red Bull Rookies Cup remaining as unpredictable as ever.

Morelli soon hit the front in an attempt to stretch out the front group and repeat the #95’s success from Saturday. However, this attempt was soon stopped by Uriarte, who responded to Morelli’s relentless pace with a brave move at turn one, causing everyone to attack in the last three laps.

Carpe was the next rider to have a go at leading on the last – sending the Jerez crowd to their feet. It was a tense final lap with everything all coming down to a drag race to the line. Carpe had a perfect drive to the line and stole the win from Danish – taking victory by 0.006s in a photo finish. Uriarte rounded out the podium, only able to watch the battle for victory, ending the race ahead of Quiles in fourth. Salmela was fifth ahead of Race 1 winner Morelli, who finished in a respectable sixth.

After an enthralling start to the year, the Red Bull Rookies Cup now heads to Le Mans for the second round of this exciting season on May 11 – 12, so make sure you don’t miss any of the action!