Road Racing

Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup – Mugello Preview – Kent leads the Cup pack

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The second race weekend of the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies season gives June a great start at the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello. At the same time competition is building amongst the world's fastest youngsters wanting to make it into the 2011 Cup.

While next year's hopefuls enter online through the Rookies website, where they can also see themselves and their opposition featured in mini bios and the 'Leading on the Road' section, the leaders of this year's Cup concentrate on the extremely demanding sweeping curves of Mugello.

From the Jerez race results two things are clear; experience helps but no one should ignore the talented newcomers. Three teens dominated the two rostrums in Spain; Danny Kent, the 16 year old Briton heads the Cup points with a 1st and a 2nd chased by 18 year old Spaniard Daniel Ruiz who had a 3rd and a 1st then Daijiro Hiura, the 15 year old Japanese who was 2nd and 3rd.

The newcomers who are already shaking up the established order include 14 year old Italian Niccolo Antonelli who scored two superb 7ths in Spain and was in the lead battles in both races. Another star of those intense fights at the head of the field was Florian Alt who only turned 14 on the eve of the Jerez event yet recorded a 6th and a 9th.

Antonelli and Alt will have learnt from their battles with the best Rookies in Spain and go to Italy with sights set on the podium. They have a few other riders to deal with though including Californian 16 year old Jake Gagne who was frustrated by his 5th and 6th in Spain.

Another man to watch is of course Mathew Scholtz, the 17 year old South African who was 8th and 4th, and fellow countryman Brad Binder, the 14 year old who was 4th in the first race and retired in the second with a mechanical problem.

Harry Stafford, the 16 year old Briton, crashed in the opening Jerez race while battling for the lead but took 5th in the second and should feature strongly in Italy as long as the left wrist he injured in a practice crash at Cadwell Park in Britain on May 22nd has recovered.

Of the two Rookies injured at Jerez only 14 year old Spaniard Xavier Figueras stands a chance of racing in Italy as the injured ring finger of his right hand is mending well and his participation depends on a late medical check. Alan Techer, the 15 year old Frenchman who broke his arm in Jerez will be a spectator as the screwed bone continues to mend.

Those hoping for a place in 2011 have taken the Road to Rookies Cup, a cross-section of them feature in the Riders on the Road segment and come from all corners of the globe, from New Zealand to Mexico, from Cuba to Scandinavia. The best appear in the Leading on the Road section as they compete for an invitation to the Selection Event later this year that will decide who joins the 2011 Cup.

Main Photo: Danny Kent leads the chasing pack.
Credit: GEPA pictures

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