Points leader Jorge Martín, the 16-year-old Spaniard, maintained his advantage through a windy and shower spattered day of practice and qualifying for Silverstone’s two Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup races. Manuel Pagliani, the 18-year-old Italian and 17-year-old Turk Toprak Razgatlıoğlu complete the front row.
“It’s been a perfect day,” enthused Martín. “I felt confident in the bike right from the start this morning and we hardly changed anything. The only problem was a lot of wind otherwise we could have gone quicker and I am quite confident for the race.”
“As you know my starts are terrible but I made a good practice start today so if I can repeat that in the races we should be good,” explained Martín. “I don’t expect to run away from the other guys, there is a lot of slipstreaming here but if I can make a good start perhaps we can limit the breakaway group to five or so.”
Pagliani also ended the day happy, just 0.358 seconds off Martín. “We improved the bike through the day, raised the back and that helped the way it turned in. So now it is pretty good, not quite perfect but we can race. I am sure I can race with Jorge but I think it will be another big group all fighting at the front. With two straights here, I think no one will get away, we will all be slipstreaming.”
Razgatlıoğlu is surprised to be anywhere near the front row. “I thought that with my size and the two long straights her that I would really struggle so I am very surprised to be third. It’s great, we made a few changes to the bike through the day, both front and back suspension and it is quite good now. The only thing that messed me up a bit were the rain showers in the second free practice, they broke my rhythm and I wasn’t confident.”
Oscar Gutierrez heads up the second row of the grid, the fastest of the first year Rookies. “That was great, we got the bike working well. It was very windy and I think that put everyone off, it really was very difficult and you have to remember that there are no points for qualifying so it wasn’t worth doing anything silly,” the 15-year-old Spaniard pointed out with a grin.
Olly Simpson, the 16-year-old Australian and 15-year-old Dutchman Bo Bendsneyder complete row two. In fact the pair were circulating together at the end of the session and carried red helmets into the final sector looking as though they might even snatch pole. “The last lap was going great,” explained Bendsneyder. “Then we came up on some slower guys and that spoilt it. Still P6 is OK and the bike is good, it should be a great race tomorrow.”
Home track hero Brad Ray was a little disappointed with eighth. “It could be better for your home race couldn’t it,” admitted the 17-year-old Briton. “We haven’t got the front quite right, it bounces up too much when I get off the brakes so we need to try and improve that for tomorrow. Still if you can get away in the top ten on the first lap you still stand a chance of winning in Rookies Cup so I’ll be going for it.”
Both races can be seen live on www.redbull.tv and on TV stations around the world.
Race 1 takes place on Saturday, August 30th at 16.30 BST (17:30 CET) and Race 2 is on Sunday at 16.00 BST (17:00 CET), the show starts 10 minutes before the race.
Source: Red Bull Rookies
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