Last year’s Mugello round of the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup was a stunner. Aren’t they all? – You say. Well yes but what a stage, what a race, what a finish! It was Yuki Kunii who took victory by 0.031 seconds from eventual Cup Champion Can Öncü and less than a full second covered the top eleven across the line.
This time the Japanese 16-year-old wheels his KTM RC 250 R out onto the hallowed tarmac as joint Cup leader with Carlos Tatay. The Spaniard has turned 16 since the pair shared the podiums with a win and a second place each in Jerez. In Mugello there is only a single race as the post MotoGP track invasion by the fans denies the possibility of a Rookies race on Sunday.
So it will all come down to 15 laps on Saturday afternoon to decide how the glory is distributed after the usual two free practice sessions and a single qualifying session on Friday.
As always with Rookies Cup when we are setting up for a Tatay/Kunii contest something completely different will happen. Of course Belgian 15-year-old Barry Baltus already took the battle to those two in Jerez, chasing them across the line in Race 1 and determined to do more in Race 2 until an unlucky collision saw him fall.
With Mugello being such a slipstreaming circuit it is very likely that the pack that chased in Jerez will make it a ten or more rider battle for the lead in Italy. So add in a couple of 15-year-old first year Rookies, Spaniard David Salvador and Matteo Bertelle who took 3rd in Race 2 in Jerez and will have the local fans waving their tricolore in support.
Another three striped flag, the French, will be supporting 14-year-old Lorenzo Fellon, a Rookie newbie who lost his place on the Race 2 Jerez podium thanks to exceeding track limits. A hard warning to him and the other 24 Rookies chasing success in the Tuscan hills.
The next barrage
The application process for the 2020 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup has been open since Jerez and already we have chosen a very select few to be given an early invitation to the Selection Event and these riders are featured at the bottom of the page. The application process continues and can be found online: https://rookiescup.redbull.com/join-us
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.