Sturla Fagerhaug, the 17 year old Norwegian produced the fastest time over two beautifully sunny days in Jerez on March 30th and 31st. It was the second and final test for the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup and just just behind him came Daniel Ruiz, the 16 year old Spaniard and Daijiro Hiura the 14 year old Japanese who was quickest in Estoril.
A two day break following the initial 2 day test at Estoril left the technical team with 600km of truck driving and some hard work to change pistons in all 27 KTM RC125s prior to the Jerez test.
They had more work on their hands as soon as the bikes went out on the track as crashers on the first day included Mavin, Fagerhaug, Binder, Pardo, Mackenzie, Thöni, Brown, Kent, Gagne, the most serious was Fraser Rogers who was concussed and thus not allowed to take part in day 2.
Fagerhaug put in a quick time in the second session of the first day that would never be bettered. He was consistently quick though and not too concerned when he was not quite as quick in the middle of the second day. “I can’t say I’m unhappy just today not as fast as yesterday. We went a bit wrong on suspension side and now swap back for the last session so hopefully that will be better. I like the track, it’s a fun track, it’s been resurfaced and is a lot smoother. It has lots of fast corners, some tricky ones, I really enjoy it.”
He was quick again and second fastest in the final session to Ruiz. “They told me it was a good time,” said Ruiz. “It’s a sign that everything works well but I know I have to continue fighting and working. I know very well that this was just a test and when we come back for the race everyone could be faster so I am not being over confident about anything.”
That final effort from Ruiz demoted Hiura to third and he was not there to defend it having left first thing in the morning to fly back to Japan because of school commitments.
Fourth fastest was 16 year old South African Mathew Scholtz, much happier than in the second day at the Estoril test. “The bike is a lot better than the second day in Estoril, there we just went backwards. Here the bike is working well and I think we are in good shape for the race. I am looking forward to it. This year I hope I will actually finish the race here,” he said with a grin, remembering that he crashed last year. “I want to start the season with some good points.”
There were plenty of fallers in the second day of the test including Figueras, Cappella, Binder, Sissis and 15 year old Frenchman Robin Barbosa who ended his day early with a high speed fall that trashed his motorcycle and badly twisted his ankle. It was two Frenchmen who were 5th and 6th quickest though, 15 year old Florian Marino followed by 16 year old Nelson Major. 3rd fastest in Estoril, Major was not thrilled with his step back. “Not so bad but not perfect. I want to be first. I know it is a test but I still want to be fastest. The bike setting is not bad but I still have a bit of chattering on the front going into the corners and a bit of movement on the back coming out. We are still trying some different things and I hope we can make it better. I am looking forward to the race. I like the track, but then I like all the tracks.”
Danny Kent the British 15 year old was 8th fastest a little hampered after wrenching his left wrist in a fall on the first day. “My wrist was hurting quite a lot towards the end, it isn’t moving to well and that is upsetting the way I am riding the bike. It’s a shame because earlier on here the bike wasn’t working as well as it did at Estoril. The guys changed quite a bit and it was better towards the end but I think we’ve still got a bit of work to do when we come here for the race. I like the track here and I’m looking forward to the race.”
Another riding through pain thanks to the little finger of his left hand that he mashed at the Estoril test Red Bull AMA U.S. Cup number one Benny Solis was enjoying his first visit to Jerez. “I’m pretty happy with things. I really like this track, it’s probably the best I’ve been on. I mean Laguna is fun as well but there is a lot to think about here. It keeps you entertained and it’s fast and technical. My finger isn’t causing me too many problems, only when I am hard on the brakes, then it’s painful but through the corner and coming out it’s OK. So I’m enjoying myself and really looking forward to starting the season here.”
Of the Australians the 16 year old Dylan Mavin was 2nd fastest and not content. I’m not happy, I just can’t put two good laps together. I’ll do one then have a problem or make a mistake. It is frustrating, I know what I want to do and the bike is working OK, it is just me, I’ve got to go out and be consistent.”
A little happier was Austrian 13 year old Nico Thöni. “I’m happier here than I was at Estoril. There I was just too slow, I don’t know why but I just didn’t get on with the track. I am quicker here and happier. I had a big crash yesterday and destroyed the bike. I got a new one today and everything is OK. I have a pretty good setting for the bike so I am glad that the season is going to start here at Jerez.”
Speaking for many who wished they were higher up the table was 15 year old Czech Jakub Kornfeil, 12th fastest. “I’m not that happy, I want to be faster. The bike setting is good, I’ve got no problem there. I just need to ask Gustl how to go faster. I really want to be at the front.”
The first two races of the 2009 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup are contested on May 2nd and 3rd as part of the Gran Premio bwin.com de España.
1 Sturla Fagerhaug (NOR) 1min 52,223sec
2 Daniel Ruiz (ESP) 1min 52,420sec
3 Daijiro Hiura (JPN) 1min 52,780sec
4 Mathew Scholtz (RSA) 1min 52,980sec
5 Florian Marino (FRA) 1min 53,132sec
6 Nelson Major (FRA) 1min 53,238sec
7 Alessio Cappella (ITA) 1min 53,364sec
8 Danny Kent (GBR) 1min 53,491sec
9 Alejandro Pardo (ITA) 1min 53,764sec
10 Harry Stafford (GBR) 1min 53,796sec
11 Deane Brown (GBR) 1min 53,811sec
12 Jakub Kornfeil (CZE) 1min 53,945sec
13 Jacob Gagne (USA) 1min 54,047sec
14 Joshua Hook (AUS) 1min 54,334sec
15 Juan Perello (ESP) 1min 54,349sec
16 Robin Barbosa (FRA) 1min 54,496sec
17 Alexander Kristiansson (SWE) 1min 54,637sec
18 Brad Binder (RSA) 1min 54,638sec
19 Benny Solis (USA) 1min 54,640sec
20 Dylan Mavin (AUS) 1min 54,780sec
21 Nico Thöni (AUT) 1min 54,981sec
22 Arthur Sissis (AUS) 1min 55,226sec
23 Hayden Gillim (USA) 1min 55,417sec
24 Xavier Figueras (ESP) 1min 55,955sec
25 Taylor Mackenzie (GBR) 1min 57,019sec
26 Fraser Rogers (GBR) 1min 58,241sec