Hanika keeps momentum to take pole position for Rookies race in Jerez
Karel Hanika maintained his incredible momentum with pole position at Jerez for the Spanish Grand Prix round of the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup. The 17-year-old Czech took pole and a Race 2 victory in Austin and in Jerez has qualified ahead of Jorge Martin, Enea Bastianini and Diego Perez going into the 3rd race of the year.
It was Hanika’s day, he bettered 15-year-old Martin in the first session as well and that was no real surprise as he had dominated both preseason two-day tests earlier in the year. The first free practice session was cancelled due to a total power failure at the track and therefore the planned first qualifying was extended to 40 minutes and classed as free practice. That left a single 30 minute qualifying session.
Everyone was running new tyres for the final session and Martin only took a couple of laps to get settled in before putting in a quick time to head the table. A lap later Hanika topped him by two tenths with a time almost half a second under the lap record which stands to Spaniard Daniel Ruiz from 2010. Those times were not bettered.
“That was great… in the end,” said Hanika. “At first I was not happy because I was struggling a lot with the rear, under braking and it was sliding a lot. But the guys did a great job of sorting it out and I am very happy with the bike now. Towards the end I tried to go for another quick lap but I couldn’t string the right lap together, either there was another rider or I made a small mistake, the tyres and the bike were fine right to the end.”
Martin also tried to put in the quick lap that would topple Hanika from pole. “I am very happy to qualify on the front row, such a big difference to last year when I was 13th. I tried to put in a quicker lap at the end but just couldn’t do it, a bit of traffic and the tyres were past their best by then. I’m looking forward to the race, I know it will be very difficult, it always is in Rookies Cup.”
Bastianini, the 15-year-old Italian, is not happy just to be completing the front row. “No I wanted to do better, I just could not get a clear lap, to have a clear track and do what I wanted. Never mind, the bike is good and tomorrow I am going to win,” he concluded with casual confidence.
Spanish 15-year-old Perez heads the second row and has good memories of a pair of third places here last year. “I am very happy with that. I had quite a lot of problems with front chatter early on but the guys did a great job of sorting it out and I am sure I can have a good ride tomorrow.”
Race 1 winner from Texas, Bradley Ray, the 15-year-old Briton, qualified 5th and is not at all upset about that. “I’m not a qualifier,” he said simply, “I think I can run with them, I put in my lap at the end and the tyres and bike were good, I’m looking forward to the race.”
Source: Red Bull Rookies Cup