Nothing at Jerez this coming weekend will be more exciting than the opening two races in the twelfth season of the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup. In eleven years the best teen racing series in the world has become famous both for thrilling racing on the identical KTMs and for producing World Champions.
Ex Rookie Jorge Martín arrives at the Gran Premio Red Bull de España leading the Moto3 World Championship and hoping to extend the three year run of World titles for fellow ex Rookies in that class. He will also be keeping a keen eye on the next generation who are fully primed after an incredibly competitive three days of Rookies preseason testing at Jerez, run at record breaking speeds.
Hard won experience and red hot enthusiasm
Two of the obvious favourites for 2018 Cup glory are Turkish twins Deniz and Can Öncü. The 14-year-olds starred last year, Can battled for the title and finally took third with four victories while Deniz finished just behind him with two.
They know as well as anyone that this year will be no easier and while 16-year-old Czech Filip Salač, 15-year-old Spaniard Adrián Carrasco and Japanese 16-year-old Ryusei Yamanaka are certain to challenge them it may well be any one of 13 newcomers who actually take the title at the end of the 12 race season.
It will be close
Quickest of the new Rookies at the test was Spaniard Carlos Tatay who will only turn 15 the Monday after the GP. He was just quicker than third year Rookie Sean Kelly, the American who turns sixteen on May 17th, with another newcomer Yuki Kunii, the 15-year-old Japanese seventh fastest and less than a second off the pace set by Can Öncü.
The top four at the test were all under the lap record and 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 Central European Time with Race 2 on Sunday at 15.30.
Don’t forget to also keep an eye on the ex Rookies chasing glory in all three World Championship classes.
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.