Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup: Quiles On Pole At Le Mans

Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup: Quiles On Pole At Le Mans

© 2024, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. By David Swarts.

RBR Qual



More, from a press release issued by Red Bull:

Pole man Quiles and Salmela the ones to beat after Rookies Le Mans Qualifying

A hot afternoon, already a packed crowd and 25 teenagers determined to get their KTMs set up for the second round of the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies at Le Mans. It was Finland’s Rico Salmela who spent the most time on top of the timing screens but Màximo Quiles stole the show by 0.028 seconds to take pole for Spain.

Cup points leader and Jerez Race 2 winner Álvaro Carpe was 3rd quickest but the 16-year-old Spaniard will start Saturday’s race from P9 on the grid thanks to a penalty for exiting the pit lane past a red light.

That promotes Malaysian 16-year-old Hakim Danish to the front row with Jerez Race 1 winner Marco Morelli heading up Row 2 as the Argentine 16-year-old looks to better his second place in the points chase.

Màximo on pole by a fraction

“That was good,” enthused the 16-year-old. “I changed the bike between FP2 and Quali. In FP2 I had a lot of chatter in the chicane, corners 9 and 10 when I went in on the brakes. So I talked with the suspension guy and they fixed it, it was better.”

“I knew I needed to improve it for the Quali because you have the new tyre and with much more grip that puts more pressure on the suspension and it will be the same in the race. Then I felt really good on the bike.”

“At the beginning of Quali, I was on my own because I didn’t want to get stuck in the group. I preferred to find the rhythm that I want to run in the race. Then luckily I caught the group at the right time, had some good laps, the slipstream and a reference and I did a 44.2. Still not perfect because in the last corner, I had to brake, I lost like .2 of a second there.”

“But I am really happy, we know I have pace for tomorrow and I will really push. I will try to break away, I will find my rhythm and be strong, we’ll see.”

Rico will do better

“That was OK, it was better than Jerez, Quali was a struggle there,” commented the 16-year-old with his usual grin, referring to his P9 in Spain.

“All day I had a good feeling with the bike, I could do P1 in FP1 and 2. Now, in the Quali I was feeling good, I couldn’t do a perfect lap but it put me second, I’m happy and tomorrow we’ll see, I’ll try to do a better race and improve the position from last year.” He was robbed of a win in both races.

“I wanted to run alone, there was a lot of slowing down in the group, I kept catching them in the wrong places. I didn’t want to do too many slow sectors otherwise you get penalised so I was a bit stuck in the group and I had to pass many riders on my fast lap but still it was OK.”

“The bike is good, more or less right, I had some moments with the front but I’m not sure if I will change anything or not, I will think about it.”

Álvaro in good shape

“I am happy with P3, that’s good. I had problems in FP1 and 2. But my KTM improved so much through the sessions and in the end, I am happy with the time, the place and the bike, it’s really good.”

“I have a penalty for the first race, dropping 6 places on the grid. But I am feeling OK because I am sure I am going to be in the race.”

“I’m looking forward to tomorrow, a lot more confident than last year because then I qualified way back.”

Hakim expecting a hot race

“I feel good with the bike, I finished P4, that’s good and I think I can do a good job in the race. I think it’s going to be a hot day tomorrow and I am confident in this bike in hot conditions.”

“I feel that I have the pace, I tried running alone and I can do that and go faster without anyone around so I think that will help in the race.”

“I am happy with the bike but I think we can still improve it so I’m going to talk to the guys and see if we should try something in the race.”

Marco loves the track and is ready to race

“I’m happy with that, very happy. The day was all good really. In FP2 I tried to get confidence, but it wasn’t quite there. Then in Quali with the new tyre, I pushed and I found the confidence and the limit.”

“I rode alone, this is good for the race, I know what I can do and I had a good pace and rhythm by myself.”

“I think that tomorrow with more adrenaline and pushing harder on race day I can go a little bit faster.”

“We’ll see because for sure it’s going to be a big group, the times are close. Maybe Rico can break, I don’t know, I will try to run with whoever is at the front, I like the bike and I love the track so let’s go.”

Ruche Moodley will be in the hunt

“I think I am well prepared for the race,” commented the South African 17-year-old who was 6th fastest but lines up in the middle of Row 2 thanks to Carpe’s penalty. “That’s the important thing. I don’t think it matters if you are on the front row or not because it’s a long race and I’m confident that I have the pace to run at the front.”

“I like this track a lot and last year I started further back so it really doesn’t matter. I’m happy with the bike, it’s really working well.”


This weekend’s Rookies Cup races can be seen live on and on TV stations around the world.

Race 1 is at 17:00 CEST on Saturday and Race 2 is on Sunday at 08:45, the show starts 10 minutes before the race.

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