News 23 Jun 2009

MotoGP: Red Bull Rookies Cup continues at Assen this weekend

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The fourth race of the season, the Dutch round of the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup at Assen, sees the best teenage racers in the World go head to head for glory. Cup leader Sturla Fagerhaug, the 17 year old Norwegian, knows that he will be under the greatest pressure from 26 other Rookies all looking to put a dent in his points lead.

The 20 point advantage that Fagerhaug has over Danny Kent could all be reversed by a single mistake but Sturla knows what he has to do. “For sure during practice the important thing is to get a good race set up. I want to have a reasonable place on the grid but more important than that is that I don’t make a mess of the start. I think I understand a bit better what I have to do so I don’t flood the engine like in Mugello. I’ve just got to get it right this time.”

“Assen is a good track with a really good flow, it has some easy sections and some difficult ones, the corner onto the back straight and the final chicane are quite tricky. The track isn’t as wide as Mugello so you can’t just run wide like you can there. If the other riders think about it they will be more accurate and not mess each other up when overtaking but I’m not sure they will change.”

“For sure winning in Assen is not going to be easy, Jakub (Kornfeil) was riding very well in Mugello and he should be good again. There is Daijiro (Hiura) of course he is always fast, Mathew (Scholtz) was going fast in Assen last year until he crashed and Alex (Kristiansson) will be good, he has ridden there before.”

“Im feeling good about the race, I think I am riding well and my second Wild Card ride in the Grand Prix in Barcelona was a great experience. Of course the level is very high and I think the way I rode in the opening laps was the best I have ever ridden. After about 7 laps the rear tyre started sliding a lot through the right handers and I thought something was wrong. I was lapping about a second quicker than I had in practice but it still felt strange so I dropped back. It was a great experience though and I am hoping to get other GP Wild Card rides in Mugello and Estoril.”

Other Rookies with good Barcelona experiences to talk about when they get to Assen are Xavier Figueras, Arthur Sissis, Alejandro Pardo and Mathew Scholtz as they all spent 3 days there cross training the week before their race in Assen. “It was a lot of fun,” said 16 year old South African Scholtz. “We were working hard, and it’s a really good experience. I really liked the motocross and supermotard. The hardest thing was the gym work, the circuit training.”

After crashing out of 2nd place in Assen last year Scholtz is determined to do better this year and also put the last corner fall in Mugello behind him, though that was not his fault. “Hopefully I’m going to do better than in the last few races because the Mugello
crash was not so good. I really hope to do well because I really like the circuit.”

For one Rookie Assen is even more important; Dutch 14 year old Guest Rider Thomas van Leeuwen has only his second ride on the KTM RC125, at least he knows his home circuit but it will not be easy, racing against the other 26 who have much more time on the bikes. “Every time I went out on the KTM in Mugello I got a better feeling for it,” says Van Leeuwen. “I think it will be the same in Assen, I will get more used to the bike and this time I know the track, I like Assen.

“For me riding at the Dutch TT is a dream, very special. I don’t feel pressure but I know it will be hard work as well as a lot of fun.”

Practice starts on Thursday June 25th and after more practice on Friday the 16 lap race is on Saturday, after the MotoGP event, at 15.30 CET. The race can bee seen live on the Rookies website with an improved feed rate over the earlier rounds. Those early races can also be found on the site, in the Rookies TV section.