Piqueras takes Portimão Rookie Pole from Moodley
South African 16-year-old Ruche Moodley had his name on pole position until the last minutes of Qualifying for the first round of the 2023 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup. Angel Piqueras stole it when he managed to tuck his KTM RC 250 R into the right slipstream and cheat the Portimão headwind.
Angel Piqueras has the pace
“That was good, I tried several times to put together the right lap and it worked in the end when I got the tow I needed. The bike was great at the end of our test so we have not had to change anything today. I could just concentrate on the riding and putting the lap together.”
“I will try to break away but I think it will be very difficult, we’ll see.”
Ruche Moodley on the limit
“Last year I didn’t have a good strategy and this year I think I have, I just gave it everything, everywhere. I almost crashed six times in that lap but I am very happy.
“In the race, I think I can stay with whoever is in front of me, I don’t know how long I can do those lap times for but I will do my best.”
“I think that the bike is perfect at the moment, the work we did and the changes we made in the test, it’s great.”
Casey O’Gorman 3rd – also fast alone
“I went out with a group because the headwind was so strong that you needed the tow,” explained the 15-year-old Irishman. “On my fastest lap I made two overtakes so it could have been better. Then running some laps on my own I was faster but when I got to the straight I lost time because of the headwind.”
“Tomorrow, maybe I should just sit back and let the race come to me. In the last few laps, I’ve got a lot better at being aggressive and hopefully I can…. get the win.”
Lorenz Luciano 4th in his head
“I am very happy with the Qualifying and the grid position,” enthused the 18-year-old Belgian. “It is a lot better than last year. And the difference is just in my head, the mental side.”
“We had a good test and we improved the bike also today and I also improved, really my improvement is the most important. I don’t know what is possible in the race, I just want to enjoy it.”
Alberto Ferrández 5th and happy
“I’m very happy to be on the second row of the grid,” stated the 15-year-old Spaniard, fastest of the newcomers. “I feel that we improved the bike a lot, I feel good on the bike and I like the track.”
“I am really enjoying it and I think I can battle at the front in the race. I expect it will be 8 or so riders so what happens at the end, we will see.”
Hakim Danish 8th to start
“I am happy with that, I finished P8,” beamed the 15-year-old Malaysian. “I am happy to start the season, my first year in Rookies like that.”
“I feel that I got better from the test, and we changed the bike a little for the Quali and I think we can still improve the front for the race. I will talk to the technical staff and we will see what we might do.”
Màximo Quiles no luck and 9th
“I had a lot of bad luck,” complained the 15-year-old Spaniard. “Because in the Quali I was always on my own, but still I showed that I can be fast and that I am one of the strongest and next time I will find a slipstream and be at the front.”
This weekend’s Rookies Cup races can be seen live on www.redbull.tv and on TV stations around the world.
Note the early times for Race 2 on Sunday morning this season and the switch to summertime this Sunday so: Race 1 is at 17:10 CET on Saturday and Race 2 is on Sunday at 09:50 CEST, the show starts 10 minutes before the race.