Rico Salmela put in a superb lap in sweltering conditions to take pole for the final weekend of the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup season. The 15-year-old Finn put the lap in alone but knows that the races are likely to be quite different.
2023 Cup winner Angel Piqueras slid off trying to better Salmela’s time at the end of the session but the 16-year-old Spaniard was unhurt and determined to go for a record-breaking 9th win in a season.
He will have to deal with Álvaro Carpe though, for the 16-year-old Spaniard is 3rd fastest and got the better of him in Austria once, when these three shared the podium in both races.
Salmela with a new lap record in Misano debut
“It was a nice Qualifying. At the start of the session, I was one of the first riders on track. I didn’t want everyone following so I went through the pit lane. But that was a bit too long so I was on my own with no reference.”
“I did many laps alone, I also did good lap times alone but then on about the 5th lap, I could see a reference from the riders ahead and could make a good lap time. I think it is a new lap record.”
“The bike is great, I didn’t change since FP1. In FP1 I needed to get the front down a bit but as I braked harder in later sessions it came right. So now everything is good.”
“I still have to think about what sprocket to use tomorrow. I was riding alone and already in the back straight the rpms were a bit high, a little bit on the limitter. So I have to think about that.”
Piqueras picks himself to win
“I’m OK, it wasn’t a big crash, just a normal crash, I lost the front. I was getting ready to push on the last lap and it slid away.”
“I am happy with the bike though, with the setup and I enjoy the track. So tomorrow I will try to win again.”
“Rico is going so fast, also Carpe, it could be quite a fight, we will see.”
“I’m really happy with that because I was riding alone for the session. I think with that lap time on my own I should be able to make the race like Austria where I was leading all the way.
“I’m really happy and I have a really good feeling with the bike, really positive after the Qualifying. The bike really came good for me in Austria and I feel the same here.”
“I was also quick, the fastest in FP2, with old tyres also riding alone. I’m not worried about the gearing because I am sure I am going to lead the race.”
Alberto Ferrandez fourth
“I’m really happy, that’s my best grid position this year,” enthused the 16-year-old Spaniard. “In FP1 I wasn’t so happy with the tyres and settings but after I understood why and we made a very good setup on the bike for the next session.”
“I was able to chase Morelli for a good lap time in Qualifying so I am happy with the time and the grid position.”
“I expect it will be a typical Rookies Cup race, a big group, a big battle, I am looking forward to it, I enjoy this track.”
Ruche Moodley learning fast for 5th
“The track is quite difficult, it’s my first time here, like Rico,” explained the 16-year-old South African. it was quite difficult to learn, most of the riders have been here before. It took the first and second sessions just to get used to the track.”
“I made some suspension changes, made the front a bit softer and in the Qualifying felt comfortable. So I feel ready for the race tomorrow.”
“In the first practice I was running the shorter gearing but it was hitting the limiter for too long so from FP2 I was with the longer gearing, it was much better and I will use that for the race.”
Marcos Ruda happy with 6th
“That was a good session and I am ready for the race tomorrow,” stated the 18-year-old Spaniard. “It’s a good position on the grid, my best this year. I am happy with the bike set up, front and back.”
“We didn’t have to change the bike really at all today, it has been good, fun to ride, turns 4 and 6 are a bit slippery but that’s OK, I think the same for everyone, no problem.”
Jacob Roulstone wanted more than 7th
“I wasn’t happy with some of the guys rolling off when we were going so fast, not a good thing at all,” explained the 18-year-old Australian. “It’s also frustrating when you are trying to put in a good lap time and it is wrecked by that.”
“Otherwise it was OK, on the last lap I was going for a quick lap, went to pass Rammerstorfer, lost the front, thought I was going to take both of us down but saved it. I had to go for it as I was on a fast lap and I think I could have got third but it is what it is.”
“Excited for the race, probably going to change the front a little bit but it should be good.”
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 17:00 CEST on Saturday and Race 2 is on Sunday at 08:45, the show starts 10 minutes before the race.