A storm cut FP2 short but the track was drying through the delayed Qualifying Session and 16-year-old Japanese Ryusei Yamanaka judged things perfectly to take pole. Second quickest was Xavier Artigas and the 15-year-old Spaniard had been fastest in FP2. Mugello pole man Meikon Kawakami, the 16-year-old Brazilian, completes the front row.
“It wasn’t easy but I felt quite comfortable at that speed,” explained Yamanaka. “I like the track and I am happy with the setting that we had in the dry for FP1 as well,” continued the Japanese who had been third fastest in the morning.
Third is something he wants to exceed as he was third fastest in Race 1 at the Red Bull Ring last year and took the same position in Race 1 at the Sachsenring. “Yes, there is only one place to go tomorrow and that is first,” he confirmed. “For me it is OK if it is wet or dry.”
Not all the usual front runners
Of course Can and Deniz Öncü should be a threat but neither really featured in the qualifying as points leader Can explained. “I had a problem with my bike and had to swap it in FP2, I didn’t complete a full lap but I want to thank the guys who worked so hard to get me out on track again for Qualifying. I was talking it a bit easy, building confidence and I got it in the end but I didn’t catch a slipstream for a good time.”
“That’s OK,” continued the 15-year-old Turk. “Eighth on the grid is OK and here you can pass a lot of people with the slipstream so I think I should be able to get near the front as long as the start is OK. I need to get some more good points.”
Twin brother Deniz joked; “Fourteenth, perfect… the track was drying but it was hard to push and I didn’t want to take a big risk, I was maybe riding at 95%. Watch me tomorrow!”
Saturday will be different
The weather forecast looks better and it has all the makings of a fantastic race as Artigas confirms. “Yes I think it will be very close. I like the track, plenty of heavy braking, turning in on the brakes, it suits my style. I am happy with the bike in the wet and the dry, I don’t mind what the conditions are for the race.”
Kawakami is not so sure he wants a wet race. “I don’t know, it is a lot easier to crash, you have to concentrate more on not making a mistake. We’ll see what it is like but the bike was also good in the dry this morning. In FP1 it was just me that was not so fast,” he said honestly, referring to his 19th position.
Heading the second row Adrián Carrasco, the 15-year-old Spaniard is certain that he doesn’t mind if it rains. “That’s OK for me, I don’t mind wet or dry. It’s probably not my favourite track but it’s OK and I think it will be a very close race especially if it is dry.”
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.