Red Bull press release:
The future World Champions begin their battle for the 2009 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup this coming weekend as part of the Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez. The 3rd Rookies season starts with two races, one on Saturday May 2nd and one on Sunday May 3rd, the beginning of an 8 race Cup.
The promotion of Rookie talent has got another boost with the news that one of this year’s Cup favourites, the 17 year old Norwegian Sturla Fagerhaug, will have the first of a number of Wild Card rides as part of the factory Red Bull KTM 125 team at the following Grand Prix in France. Cameron Beaubier, his team mate for that event, is also an ex Rookie and with Lorenzo Savadori, Matt Hoyle and Johann Zarco all ex Rookies with regular GP rides this year the alumni are starting to populate the 125 GP class.
This season for the first time fans will be able to watch the Rookies races live thanks to a satellite feed to the Rookies Cup website www.redbullrookiescup.com and this will continue all year. After the event the recorded races will remain on the Rookies TV section of the site. All the Rookies races and other features will also be available to broadcast media through Red Bull’s content pool at www.redbullcontentpool.com
None of those battling in Spain will be thinking about the fact that previous Jerez winners have not gone on to win the Cup and favourite going into the opening round is Fagerhaug, who was a close 3rd in the 2008 Cup behind double Jerez winner Luis Salom.
Fagerhaug was quickest at the Jerez pre-season test but is far too level headed to assume that this is any kind of guarantee especially as 14 year old Japanese Daijiro Hiura, fastest in the opening pre-season test in Estoril, missed the second day in Jerez as he had to return home to school.
“I love the track,” says Fagerhaug. “It’s been resurfaced and is smoother than it was before, it’s got fast corners, some tricky ones. It’s a lot of fun.”
The home country advantage goes to Daniel Ruiz and the 17 year old from Pamplona pushed absent Hiura out of second spot on practice times late in the second day of the test. “I know that everyone is going to be faster at the race,” said Ruiz. “I enjoy the track but it is going to be very tough, there are so many fast riders and our times from the test are not important.”
One of those hoping that Ruiz is right is Deane Brown, the 16 year old Scot, who scored 2 third places at last year’s season opener in Jerez but was only 11th fastest at the test. He suffered an early fall when another rider’s crashing machine took him out and that left him with an injured elbow that hampered him for the rest of the test. “It was just a bit of bad luck but at least we ended up with a good bike setting. I’m fit now and really looking forward to the races. Last year was good but I’m going for 2 wins in Jerez this year, I’ll not be happy with anything else.”
Another Briton who was hampered by injury after a fall was 15 year old Danny Kent, it was and injured wrist that kept him down in 8th place. “I think we still have some work to do on the bike because it didn’t work as well as it did at Estoril and my wrist was stopping me riding the way I should so it wasn’t easy to sort it out.”
It the same injured-riders club was Benny Solis winner of the 2008 Red Bull AMA U.S. Rookies Cup, he suffered a nasty injury to the little finger of his left hand at the Estoril test and was struggling to learn the Jerez track and set a good time. The 14 year old Californian was 19th fastest with fellow countryman, 15 year old, Jake Gagne ahead in 13th and 14 year old Kentuckian Hayden Gillim 23rd.