Roisterous Rookies ride starts season in Portimão
It’s all action in Portugal this weekend. Races one and two of the 16th Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup season take place in Portimão with 26 young riders ready to put on the dazzling displays of skill and enthusiasm that are the hallmark of the Cup.
The dramatic tarmac twists and elevation changes of the Algarve circuit are a perfect stage for the Rookies to show their skills on the KTM RC 250 Rs and after the three day preseason test they are primed to go racing.
New stars the only certainty
Lining up for the 2022 Cup are just 4 riders in their 3rd Cup season, Tatchakorn Buasri, Gabin Planques, Luca Lunetta and Collin Veijer. For 14 it is their first season so a wide variety of experience going into the opening weekend.
We are guaranteed to see some new stars as the top 7 in last year’s title chase have moved on. None of this year’s grid have won a race, only Buasri has been on the podium.
First races only a hint of things to come
Last year Portimão saw eventual Cup winner David Alonso win both races. It looked like the start of a charge but against super tough opposition he didn’t win again until the 4th event at the Sachsenring. It was then his incredible hat-trick, winning 3 of the 4 races at the Red Bull Ring that really secured him the Cup that he actually clinched at the final weekend in Aragón.
Alonso won 6 of 14 races last season, the most ever wins is Bo Bendsneyder who won 8 of 13 in 2015. There were 7 different victors in last year’s incredible season, we have only once had 8. That was back in 2011 when Lorenzo Baldassarri took the title with just 2 wins. Arthur Sissis had 4 wins but was only 2nd on points.
Whatever happens in these first 2 races it is unlikely to be much of a help predicting the outcome of the 2022 Rookies Cup, the only thing we can be certain of is that it will be thrilling.
This is the first of 7 2022 Rookies Events that will build on the already extraordinary legacy, these are Rookies Cup races 183 and 184.
The World Championship classes have already started their 2022 seasons of course and ex-Rookies have already won 5 GPs. The GP paddock will be keeping a close eye on the Rookies races as always, wondering which will be the next riders to join their ranks. To date 49.25% of Rookies make it to the GPs.
This weekend’s Rookies Cup races can be seen live on www.redbull.tv and on TV stations around the world.
Race 1 is at 17:30 CEST on Saturday and Race 2 is on Sunday at 17:00, the show starts 10 minutes before the race.