Aug 8, 2011
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Red Bull MotoGP Rookies in action. Photo by GEPA Pictures, courtesy of Red Bull
Crunch time for the 2011 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup. Just 3 races remaining in the season and 2 of those take place at the Cardion ab Grand Prix of the Czech Republic at Brno this coming weekend.
Lorenzo Baldassarri, the Italian who turned 15 last week, heads north from his home in Montecosaro Stazione on the Adriatic coast with a 6 point advantage over Arthur Sissis. The 16 year old Australian had been leading the title chase from the second event in Estoril on only to suffer disaster in the last round in Germany where he scored zero points thanks to a technical failure and a crash in the two races at the Sachsenring.
Baldassarri has scored in every round, has 2 wins to the Australian's 4 but has been more consistent in the rain. The weather has plagued so much of this season though Sissis improved his wet weather showing following his mediocre performances in the dismal Silverstone races.
So the pair come into the last 3 races of the season with no clear advantage separating them. Sissis knows Brno well as it is his 3rd year in the cup and Baldassarri has a another track to learn but that has seemed to cause him few problems this season. Sissis did not have much luck at Brno last year with a technical problem in Race 1 and an 11th in Race 2. He was running with the front group early on in that 2nd race until he made a mistake and has also improved immeasurably this season.
Of this year's Rookies who competed in Brno last season by far the most successful was 16 year old South African Brad Binder. He was 7th in Race 1 and 4th in Race 2. It was those kinds of results that made him the favourite at the start of this year. But for a few mistakes and his dislike of racing in the rain he would now be fighting with Baldassarri and Sissis for the Cup. As it is he is 5th and cannot win the Cup overall but has every chance of winning some of the remaining races.
Alan Techer and Philipp Oettl are 3rd and 4th respectively and both have a mathematical chance of taking the title. French 16 year old Techer is 45 points behind Baldassarri and not only did he win the last race at the Sachsenring but that weekend reminded us that it is all too possible for the Cup leader to score zero any weekend. Techer is on form and talented, he made his comeback at Brno last year from the broken arm he sustained in the 1st weekend of the season. Although he only started in the 1st race because his arm was less that 100% he does know the track.
Oettl is 65 points behind Baldassarri so with 75 on offer from the last races has a slim chance of the title but he, like Techer, scored a win in Germany so is very much on form. He was only 16th and 12th last year in Brno but 12 months on is a different rider. He should be up the front this year as should fellow 15 year old German Florian Alt. He also hit his stride at his home GP, qualifying on the front row and a 2nd place in Race 2. Alt was 9th and 8th in Brno last year, the best of the remaining Rookies other than Binder.
The Sachsenring races were the closest of the year and that was no surprise, every season they seem to get closer as the year goes on, more and more of the young riders learn to get the best out of the identical machines, closing everything up.
It is all set then for another 2 great races and the intense battle within that is the fight for the Cup. Race 1 starts at 16.30 CET on Saturday August 13th with Race 2 on Sunday at 15.30. The races can be seen on TV around the World and by live webcast at with the shows beginning 10 minutes before the races.