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Sep 24, 2013

Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup Champ Hanika Signs With Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto3 World Championship Team

Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup Championship Karel Hanika (98). Photo by GEPA Pictures, courtesy of Red Bull.

Red Bull KTM Ajo, the official KTM factory team for the Moto3 World Championship announced on Tuesday that they have signed Czech rider Karel Hanika for the 2014 season. The announcement follows that of the signing of Australian Jack Miller on the eve of the San Marino Grand Prix.

Red Bull KTM Ajo is currently leading the 2013 Moto3 championship with Luis Salom who will move up to Moto2 next season. The team’s blue ribbon credentials are also underlined because it produced the first ever Moto3 world champion in Sandro Cortese in the competition’s debut 2012 season.

Aki Ajo, factory team manager and his lineup are recognized as one of the most successful in the World Championship paddock and were the winning team in the small displacement class in 2008, 2010 and 2012.

Hanika has been the stand out rider in the 2013 edition of the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup and has secured the title two rounds before the end of competition. He took three wins and four podiums in the 2012 edition of the Rookies Cup and so far has claimed six wins and three seconds in 2013. Born in Brno in 1996 he follows fellow Rookies graduates Danny Kent and Arthur Sissis into the factory team.

Aki Ajo - Team Manager: "We are very happy to bring Karel to Red Bull KTM Ajo. He is a very talented young rider who has had great races in the Red Bull Rookies Cup both this season and last season. It is an honor for Red Bull KTM Ajo to have these young riders coming through, with their desire to work hard and learn after their time in that magnificent competition. I know that Karel is very motivated for next year, and that is the most important thing.”

Karel Hanika: "Moving up to the Moto3 World Championship with Red Bull KTM Ajo is a dream for me. In my opinion this is the best team in the series and a perfect opportunity for me. I have to make the most of this unique chance.”

Hanika joins 18-year-old Miller in the 2014 team lineup. The Australian has looked impressive this season and is frequently up with the leading group of riders. He is currently seventh in the championship standings. Team boss Aki Ajo described Miller as “one of the biggest talents for the future" and said the team was proud to have him racing for them.

More, from a press release issued by Red Bull:

Karel Hanika is on his way to the 2014 Moto3 World Championship as a member of the Red Bull KTM Ajo Motorsport team. It is a fine reward for winning this year's Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup and he has an incredible legacy to follow. The team won the 2012 World Championship with Sandro Cortese and are leading the title chase this year with ex Rookie Luis Salom.

This weekend in Aragon though Hanika still has the final two races of the 2013 Rookies Cup to concentrate on and the 17-year-old Czech has unfinished business. He was forced out of Misano's race with an engine problem and spectated as the results produced his Cup winning points position, he certainly sees that as no way to end the season. He continued his crushing form with two German Championship wins in Hockenheim last weekend.

Hanika building on six

Already with six Rookies wins to his name this year he would love to make it eight and there is no chance whatsoever that this finale will be anything less than spectacular. That is the way of Rookies Cup and while Hanika cannot be caught, second placed could go to any of six young men.

Jorge Martín, the 15-year-old Spaniard, has a justifiable claim to it, he already has two wins to his name, the only one other than the Czech to get more than one and he pushed Hanika hardest for the title. Some bad luck and a below par weekend in Misano has meant that Manuel Pagliani is now only seven points behind. The 17-year-old Italian has been smooth and quick all season and victory in Misano accelerated his chase for second.

CEV leader still looking for first Rookies win

With 50 points on offer from these two races there is plenty more that can change. Marcos Ramirez is fourth in the points chase and has 24 to make up on Martín. The 15-year-old Spaniard leads his own national championship, the CEV, and has been third in the last three Rookies races. He is desperately looking for his first Cup win at the end of his second season.

In the same position is Stefano Manzi, the 14-year-old Italian, he has already been second three times this year including being robbed on the line in Misano by Pagliani. He has 27 points to make up on Martín and that second place. Another two adrift is Enea Bastianini, the 15-year-old Italian who won Race 2 in Jerez and was fourth in Misano.

The long shots

With very outside chances of that second place are 17-year-old Dutchman Scott Deroue, currently seventh in the table with that Silverstone Race 2 win and Diego Perez whose best result so far in his second season is second in Race 1 at Silverstone.

Statistics must be tallied at the end of the season of course but they are not what the Rookies Cup is about. It is the closest action in Grand Prix racing and that is what spectators and viewers will remember as much as who takes home the trophies.

That race action starts at 16.30 CET on September 28th with the year's finale at 15.30 on Sunday. The live show can be seen on TV stations around the world and on with the build-up starting 10 minutes earlier.
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