The weather was changeable, half the Rookies names have changed but the atmosphere is just the same. The 14th season of the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup starts in just over a week so the preseason test was intense.
“It’s just the same as when I was in the Rookies 10 years ago,” enthused Brad Binder, at the track for a promotion. “The only thing that has changed is that they now ride the 4-strokes. Otherwise it is just the same, practicing the start procedures, learning the bikes and the track, it brings it all back,” smiled the ex Moto3 World Champion and current Red Bull KTM MotoGP star.
It was Binder who scored the 100th GP win for ex Rookies last season and the new field of rider has a lot to live up to. They have made a great start.
Who will win?
One of the favourites for the 2020 Cup is Pedro Acosta. “I don’t like to think of being the favourite,” stated the 16-year-old Spaniard who finished second last year. “The championship is very short and things can easily go wrong so I am just thinking of the first races.”
“I have learnt a lot as a rider since last year’s race here,” explained Acosta who took a win and a 5th twelve months ago. “I think we now have the bike settings better and that will be a big help when we come back for the races.”
Another favourite is David Salvador who was 4th in the 2019 Cup and the 16-year-old Spaniard is looking for far better results than he recorded in Spielberg last year when he was extremely unlucky and scored no points. “I am very happy with the progress over these two days in all the different conditions. I wasn’t happy with the bike settings in the dry yesterday but we made some good steps today and I am confident that we have what we need for the race weekend.”
Zonta van den Goorbergh starred last year in Austria but the 14-year-old Dutchman is not counting on an easy time in his second Cup season. “I think the level is even higher than last year, the new riders are quick and even though I am lapping half a second faster than I qualified last year the others have also gone faster. It is very competitive.”
Who is new?
Starting out in Rookies Cup is British 16-year-old Scott Ogden and he was pleased with his first experience of the KTM RC 250 R. “I’m really enjoying it. I was pleasantly surprised, not so different to the other Moto3 bikes I have ridden and better than I expected. I’ve still got work to do when we come back for the race, improve the bike and myself but I like track. The last two right handers are great.”
For Rider Coach and ex Grand Prix star Gustl Auinger the comments are familiar. “Every year I am amazed how well the new guys settle in, how soon they become part of our family, fit in and get up to speed. It is great to see how this happens.”
“If there is one thing that is different this year, I get the feeling that this virus situation has taught us all to take nothing for granted. I think the riders appreciate the opportunity they have here more than ever and that is a positive thing.”
The first Rookies Cup races of the season are part of the Austrian Grand Prix August 14th to 16th.