Carlos Tatay was untouchable through Friday in Assen. The 16-year-old Spaniard headed Free Practice 1 by 0.694 seconds, FP2 by 0.382 and Qualifying by 0.446. It is fellow countryman Pedro Acosta, the 15-year-old who will sit alongside the Cup points leader on the grid with Belgian 15-year-old Barry Baltus completing the front row of KTM RC 250 Rs.
Acosta and Baltus had been closest to Tatay all day but will have to find something extra if they hope to challenge him in the two 16 lap races.
“I am very happy with the way today went,” admitted Tatay. “I feel well prepared for tomorrow. Like Mugello I did try running alone and with other riders but chasing a slipstream didn’t work for me so I was happier doing the laps on my own.”
“The bike is really working well, perfect. We didn’t struggle with the setting at all, the track seems quite the same as last year. I am ready to fight at the front. I think that making an escape will be difficult, we will just see tomorrow,” he concluded with a broad smile.
Acosta the quick newcomer
“That was a really good day,” enthused Acosta. “It is my first time here and it is very different to Mugello, more bumpy, especially through the fast corners. In the first session the setting for the front was not right and in the second it was the back but with new tyres and some changes for qualifying the bike was great. So I have a really good feeling for the race.
Baltus the man with a plan
“Not so bad,” stated Baltus. “My plan was to ride alone at first then to come through the pits and pick up a group but I never found a good group so I was setting the times on my own. That’s OK, the bike is perfect. For the race I will try and not make the mistake I made in Mugello where Tatay got away early. I know I have to go with him this time and race him all the way.”
Dupasquier ready to deliver
“Yes I am very happy with that,” said Jason Dupasquier simply. “It’s good to be in the top five and we didn’t have to change a lot on the bike today, we seem to have a good base setting now. I have ridden here before some years ago and I enjoy the track but it is a lot bumpier than it used to be. Still I am really looking forward to the race, I hope to fight at the front, I’ll do my best,” added the 17-year-old Swiss who was fourth fastest.
Kunii coming back from injury
“It’s not easy especially in the left corners,” explained Yuki Kunii, the Japanese 16-year-old, who required an operation on his right wrist after his Mugello crash and qualified 10th. “It’s painful and I don’t have the strength to be fast. I did what I could and even though I have the pain, the feeling for the bike and for riding is coming back. So I hope it will be better tomorrow and for Race 2. I will try everything I can.”
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.