In the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup
A thrilling two sessions of qualifying for the first Red Bull Rookies MotoGP Cup race of the year ended with Daijiro Hiura on pole for Saturday and Sunday's races in Jerez, Spain.
The 14 year old Japanese just held off the challenges
of Mathew Scholtz, the 16 year old South African and French 15 year old Florian Marino. It is Alex Kristiansson, the 15 year old Swede who completes the globe-wide front row.
"I am very happy with that", said Hiura with his characteristic grin. "I was not so happy that I crashed in the first qualifying when another rider suddenly slowed in front of me but I wasn't hurt and I really enjoyed the second session. The bike is working well and I can't wait for the race, I want to win."
Scholtz is also keen to get on with the competition. "I think we've got a good race set-up, we changed a few things during the day and I experimented with some different lines, I was concentrating on getting things right for the race and not worrying too much about the lap time. I might have gone a little faster."
Another who saw working on bike set-up pay off was Marino. "I had quite a lot of front end chatter at the start of the second session and I came into the pits and Rob, the WP guy, adjusted the front. It fixed it completely and I really enjoyed myself then, so I think it could be a good race too."
There were those for whom practice did not go so well. "I just made a silly mistake", said Sturla Fagerhaug, who crashed in the first qualifying and damaged the bike so that he could take no part in the second session. "I was going for a quick lap and just missed my braking marker completely", admitted the 17 year old Norwegian with typical frank honesty. "I should have just run off but I tried to get into the corner and lost the front. I'm just fed up with myself and I know I've got a lot to make up for in the race. They should put the on-bike camera with me, it's going to be exciting."
The pre season favourite lines up on the 3rd row in 10th place with some stiff opposition ahead of him. One of those is 16 year old Frenchman Nelson Major, who was second fastest in the first qualifying but then crashed and missed the second to end up 5th. "I don't know what happened, I got on the gas but there was no slide, no warning, it just threw me off. I'm OK though and I still think I can have a great race."
Another to watch is 15 year old Briton Danny Kent, who was 4th fastest in the first session but slipped to 7th in the second.
"It was strange, there was something wrong with the front in the second session, the front tyre, the suspension, we don't know, the guys are checking now. As long as that is sorted I think we are in good shape for the race.”
Another Brit on the second row is 15 year old Harry Stafford and alongside them the 16 year old Czech Jakub Kornfeil.
Fastest of the Americans is Benny Solis, the Red Bull AMA U.S. Cup holder, in 18th place but the 14 year old Californian is expecting more from the race. "We got the bike so that the front is perfect but the rear is moving around a bit in the fast corners and that loses time. We are going to try and fix that then I think it will make a difference and I can get going a bit more in the race."