News 10 May 2018

Van Eerde takes gains out of first Red Bull Rookies start

Teenager lodges a pair of finishes in opening round at Jerez.

Image: Supplied.

Australian rising star Billy Van Eerde completed his first pair of Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup races at Jerez during the Spanish grand prix last weekend, gaining valuable experience in his European debut.

Van Eerde, who clinched a national Supersport 300 crown last year on-board a KTM RC 390, has been a standout performer in the Asia Talent Cup so far in 2018 riding Honda machinery, however faces an all-new challenge in the high-paced Red Bull-backed ranks.

The 16-year-old qualified in 15th position – just 1.5s from pole – and then recorded 19-17 results across the two hard-fought races at Jerez. Despite falling short of points as he continues to adapt to the KTM RC 250 R, it was a positive experience for Van Eerde.

“On the Friday after two practice sessions I qualified in 15th place,” Van Eerde reflected. “It wasn’t easy, as all times were so close. First race on Saturday started well, however I gave away too much time each lap to finish in 19th. After some front-end suspension adjustments and height changes we went into race two to finish 17th.

“I’m gaining more confidence each time to push the KTM RC 250 for the next round in four weeks’ time at Mugello, Italy. Thanks again to Red Bull Rookies for the awesome opportunity to compete and the tireless support team who work over and beyond to get us all out on the track, building speed and confidence.”

Pramac Racing Ducati MotoGP contender Jack Miller – who himself cut his teeth in the lower tiers of European competition following a short stint road racing at home – has taken highly-rated countryman Van Eerde under his wing since arriving back at his Andorra base, training together and making the most of his early international experience.