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The Estoril pre-season test for the 5th season of the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup got underway on Friday and Saturday with the 25...

The Estoril pre-season test for the 5th season of the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup got underway on Friday and Saturday with the 25 Rookies assembled from all over the world. Friday was damp and eventually curtailed by rain but a very pleasant day on Saturday saw everyone make maximum use of the track.

Fastest at the end of the two days was Arthur Sissis, the 15 year old Australian. “It is a lot better than previous years when I have been a long way off the pace at the tests. I feel a lot better on the bike this year, more comfortable with everything and the lap times just come when it is like that. I was feeling good so in the final session I chased after Brad (Binder) when he got away from the group we were in.”

Just a few hundredths slower was 14 year old Spaniard Xavier Pinsach. “I didn’t come here really expecting to do so well. It is my first time on a bike this year but that only troubled me in the first session, I was soon feeling comfortable on the KTM. I fell off in the 3rd session today but it was only a small fall, not a problem at all and I am happy just to be feeling so comfortable on the bike, the speed is a bit of a surprise.”

Relaxed in 3rd and only a few hundredths slower again was Brad Binder, the 15 year old South African with the strongest Rookies record amongst this year’s competitors. He said that he didn’t come to Portugal to try and top the time sheets. “It took me a while to get used to riding the KTM again but I am enjoying it and really we are just concentrating on bike set up not speed, I’ll leave that for the race weekends.”

Florian Alt, the 14 year old German was 4th fastest and that satisfied his plans coming to the test. “I wanted to be in the top 5 and put in consistent times all the way through so I am quite happy with the way things are going.”

Fastest of the newcomers was Italian 14 year old Lorenzo Baldassarri, 5th fastest. “I am really enjoying it, I had an outing last week in Valencia on a GP bike so I shook off the winter and was soon comfortable on the KTM. It is my first time at this track but I like it, everything but the chicane. I haven’t got that sorted out yet.”

Second of the Germans and 6th fastest was 14 year old Philipp Oettl who said that he had no trouble getting into the grove. “I rode a supermoto bike a bit during the winter including last week so I didn’t feel too rusty and I am just taking it a step at a time trying to move forward every time I go out on the bike.”

Alan Techer, the 16 year old Frenchman completed the top 7. “I was riding a 125 last week at Ledenon so getting on the bike here was not too much of a shock. I am really not trying to go super fast here, I just want to get the bike set up for the start of the season. I have been here just for the Rookies Selection Event so I know the track a little. I like it, it’s a lot of fun, except the chicane, I have fallen twice there now so I obviously need to work on it,” he concluded with a grin.”

After a day’s rest on Sunday the test resumes with a final day of testing on Monday. The first 2 races are on the Saturday and Sunday of the Spanish Grand Prix in Jerez on April 2nd and 3rd.

Combined classification, test days 1-2
1. Arthur Sissis (AUS) 1 minute 53.009 seconds
2. Xavier Pinsach (ESP) 1 minute 53.058 seconds
3. Brad Binder (RSA) 1 minute 53.088 seconds
4. Florian Alt (GER) 1 minute 53.178 seconds
5. Lorenzo Baldassarri (ITA) 1 minute 53.332 seconds
6. Philipp Öttl (GER) 1 minute 53.370 seconds
7. Alan Techer (FRA) 1 minute 53.440 seconds
8. Joe Roberts (USA) 1 minute 53.497 seconds
9. Tomas Vavrous (CZE) 1 minute 53.660 seconds
10. James Flitcroft (GBR) 1 minute 53.763 seconds
11. Ivo Lopes (POR) 1 minute 54.177 seconds
12. Aaron Espana (ESP) 1 minute 54.300 seconds
13. Andrea Migno (ITA) 1 minute 54.342 seconds
14. Hafiq Azmi (MAS) 1 minute 54.464 seconds
15. Kevin Argino (ITA) 1 minute 54.708 seconds
16. Kyle Ryde (GBR) 1 minute 54.878 seconds
17. Joakim Niemi (FIN) 1 minute 55.106 seconds
18. Javier Orellana (GBR) 1 minute 55.235 seconds
19. Lukas Trautmann (AUT) 1 minute 55.289 seconds
20. Stefano Valtulini (ITA) 1 minute 55.925 seconds
21. Willi Albert (GER) 1 minute 55.964 seconds
22. Max Enderlein (GER) 1 minute 56.940 seconds
23. Deni Cudic (AUT) 1 minute 57.127 seconds
24. Scott Deroue (NED) 1 minute 58.330 seconds
25. Josep Garcia (ESP) 1 minute 59.590 seconds

Source: Red Bull Rookies Cup