Estoril : Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup
Japanese 13 year old Daijiro Hiura seized pole position for Saturday's Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup race at Estoril only to crash on the final lap as he touched a piece of wet track remaining for the morning rain.
was Norway's Sturla Fagerhaug ahead of American JD Beach and Briton Adam Blacklock.
It was no great surprise to see 16 year old Fagerhaug towards the front as he had dominated the pre season test at Estoril in March. “The first timed session wasn't good though. It was just me, I knew that I needed to get in the groove and concentrate. I managed that in the second session and it all came together.”
Maturing well in his second Rookies season Fagerhaug knows that he faces tough opposition from Hiura in the race. “The bike is just perfect”, said Hiura. “I was really enjoying it and everything was working well, then I just touched a patch of wet and down I went. I am annoyed with myself but it won't happen in the race”, he asserted, determined to get on the podium early in his first full Rookie season.
Fagerhaug expected to be quick but third man Beach was pleasantly surprised. “The test just didn't go well for me here but it has just come together now”, said the 16 year old who was 8th fastest in March. “I kind of knew the reason then, I'd been doing a lot of dirt tracking and it wasn't easy to get right back on the road racer and go fast. The Jerez race weekend was good though and I'm in the road racing groove now so I'm going to cut way back on the dirt tracking at home.”
Even more surprised to be on the front row was Blacklock. “Yeah that was just great”,said the 14 year old Scot. “I needed a bit of a slap in the face, the lap times that I'd been doing. I wasn't happy. I got a bit of a tow from Sturla and realised that I can do it. The bike was working great, everything just came together.”
It certainly didn't come together for Jerez double winner and Cup leader Luis Salom. The 16 year old Spaniard managed just 7 laps of the first of two qualifying sessions then his engine stopped. With back to back qualifying sessions Salom had to watch in frustration as his rivals gained track time on him.
“Sure it's a problem, Sturla, Beach, the other guys are fast and I've just done a few laps of practice and I'm starting at the back of the grid.
I have no idea how the race will go”, concluded Salom who with the 19th fastest time languishes on the 5th row of the grid.
The Portuguese weather was dry but very blustery throughout the two afternoon qualifying sessions and local hero 13 year old Miguel Oliveira took a cautious approach as the Wild Card rider for the weekend.
“I'm down in 12th place so I know that I've got to make a good start and try and get with the lead group and run as close to the front as I can. I love the KTM, it's a great bike, I just need more track time with it.”