Red Bull PR:
The rolling Tuscan hills beckon the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup to Mugello and the 3rd race of the season. Norwegian 17 year old Sturla Fagerhaug leads the chase after the double header at Jerez but only by 4 points from Danny Kent. The British 15 year old scored a 3rd and a win at Jerez while Fagerhaug’s results were 1st and 2nd.
Don’t think for a second that the Cup is anything like a 2 rider battle for there are obvious candidates to dismiss that idea. The way that Mathew Scholtz, the 16 year old South African, charged away into the lead from the start of race one in Spain made it look as though he was in a class of his own. The blustery wind that put a number of other riders on ground then caused an off-track excursion for Scholtz. He was second in the restarted first race but a touch of caution and getting mixed up with the wrong riders at the wrong time left him 7th in the second outing.
Daijiro Hiura, the 14 year old Japanese, started from pole position in Spain, did not get off the line well, then crashed just as he had worked his way into 2nd in race 1. Race 2 saw him on the podium in 3rd and he is well capable of winning in Italy. As the winner of the Portuguese round last season and a consistent front runner, he, like Scholtz, Kent and Fagerhaug have already put down their names for the 2009 Cup title.
Those who would also like to be on that list include 15 year old Italian Alejandro Pardo who lies 4th in this his first Rookie season following a 6th and 5th in Spain. He will have the added incentive of racing in front of a home crowd at Mugello. Though born in Barcelona, Spain, he lives in Monte Urano, Fermo, close to Italy’s Adriatic coast, a 300km drive from the track. He will have to calm his enthusiasm though if he is to make the best of the situation.
Another first time Rookie who very much impressed in Spain was Alex Kristiansson. The 15 year old Swede raced at the front first time out in Jerez and crossed the line 4th. He fell in the second race but obviously has the speed to be a major player this season. Also add to that list Jakub Kornfeil, the 16 year old Czech, French 15 year old Florian Marino and another first year Rookie; Josh Hook, the 16 year old Australian. It adds up to a host of riders capable of putting themselves on Mugello podium.
Probably not thinking of podiums as he is having his first ride ever on a Rookies KTM is Dutch 14 year old Thomas van Leeuwen. Born in Hattem and now living in Wezep, The Netherlands, he has impressed Rookies Dutch talent scout Jurgen van den Goorbergh and hopefully will use the Italian outing as an opportunity to get used to the KTM RC 125 prior to contesting his home race at Assen on June 27th. Only these 2 Rookies races are planned for Leeuwen this season.
Harry Stafford, the 15 year old who suffered a severe concussion when he crashed in the first race in Jerez, continues to make a good steady recovery at home in England and plans to make his comeback probably at the Sachsenring round on July 18th.