Local hero Karel Hanika set a blistering pace in the 1st Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup qualifying session at Brno in the Czech Republic and though the pack closed on his time in the 2nd session it was still good enough to secure pole position for the 16 year old.
Cup leader Florian Alt cut the Czech’s advantage to just 0.111 seconds to take 2nd on a beautiful afternoon and the 16 year old German just managed to hold off the two 14 year old Spaniards Jorge Martin and Marcos Ramirez, both doing a great job on their first visit to Brno.
Though it is Hanika’s 1st Rookies Cup season he does know his home track well and was over half a second quicker than 2nd placed Scott Deroue in the 1st qualifying session. Hanika explained why he did not then improve. “The 2nd session did not go so perfectly for me. Once I over-revved the engine, I then came into the pits so the mechanics could check it as I didn’t want to damage it. Then towards the end I was on a fast lap but had a bit of a highsider coming through the last corner and that ruined 2 laps.”
“It’s OK though, I am happy with the time from the 1st session, the bike is working well and I think I can go a little faster in the race. Of course I am a little bit more nervous than at the other GPs but I think it helps me actually, it works for me.”
Similarly Alt was quite happy with his day’s work. “We improved the bike through the day, made the front a bit softer and slowed the rebound, that helped a lot so I was much happier in the 2nd qualifying session. The only thing against us was that I was in a big group, sometimes that was an advantage and sometimes not, but 2nd is certainly OK for the race.”
Martin was thrilled to complete the front row. “I am very happy with that. We changed the bike quite a lot through the day, both front and back. We got it working well at the end and I’m very happy with the time. I managed that riding on my own so I’m looking forward to the race, it’s a great track.”
His compatriot Ramirez agreed about the circuit. “I like the track, I really like the changes of direction, like big chicanes, a lot of fun. The bike was working well all day, we didn’t change much and I feel good for the race.”
Deroue, the 16 year old Dutchman, could not hold his 2nd place from the 1st session, slipping to 5th even though he went quicker. “For the race it is OK, I just couldn’t do any good laps at the end, I got a terrible headache and couldn’t concentrate for the last 4 laps or so. I guess it could be the heat, perhaps I didn’t drink enough today. I am sure it will be better tomorrow, it should be a great race.”
Completing the 2nd row is 15 year old Belgian Livio Loi who was quickest in the morning’s free training and 4th in the 1st qualifying. “I enjoyed that today. I came to race here a couple of months ago so that helped with getting on with the track this morning. The bike is great and I am looking forward to the race, I just need to get my neck sorted out, I am not sure what I did but I got a real pain in it towards the end of the last session.”
Cup champion in 2011, Lorenzo Baldassarri continues to struggle to find the same success and the 15 year old Italian lines up 12th. “Finally we got the bike working better towards the end but by then the tyres were destroyed. Early on I was really struggling. I think it should be good for the race.”
Both Rookies Cup races at Brno can be seen live on TV stations around the world and on www.redbull.tv with Race 1 on Saturday August 25th starting at 16.30 CET. Sunday’s Race 2 starts at 15.30 and in each case the show begins 10 minutes before race time.
Source: Red Bull Rookies Press Release
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