Two riders are tied on points and a total of 7 riders have a mathematical chance of winning the 2009 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup going into the final race weekend in Brno. With two races during the Cardion AB Grand Prix of the Czech Republic, one on Saturday August 15th and one on
Sunday, the Cup is still wide open.
The six races run so far have seen fortunes swing wildly with 17 year old Norwegian Sturla Fagerhaug dominate the early months, through pre season testing and the first 4 races. High drama in the last 2 races, in Germany and Britain, saw his Cup lead decimated as he only scored 4 points while Jakub Kornfeil picked up the maximum 50.
Kornfeil's solid start to the year received a great boost when he pushed Fagerhaug all the way to the line in race 3 at Mugello and gave more than a hint of his developing capabilities. The 16 year old Czech was off the podium in Assen after not getting the best of a 6 man battle for second behind another convincing Fagerhaug win.
At the next race though it all changed, rain had soaked the Sachsenring circuit and Kornfeil was the only one to have the a measure of the grip in the opening laps. He simply disappeared into the lead and Fagerhaug crashed as he escaped the slithering pack and tried to chase him down. Remounting a damaged bike gained him 4 points for a 12th place consolation finish.
It was dry in Donington but Kornfeil was just as dominant and Fagerhaug repeated his error, this time unable to restart. Another 25 points for the win tied the points table at 99 each for Fagerhaug and Kornfeil with Daijiro Hiura, Danny Kent, Mathew Scholtz, Florian Marino and Jake Gagne all in a position still to claim the Cup as there are 25 points on offer for each of the 2 Brno races.
Two crashes in as many races have been a disaster and yet Fagerhaug is not at all a reckless rider and there are many who will bet on him to have a faultless weekend in Brno and take the Cup. He may have been distracted by his factory Red Bull KTM 125 GP wild card rides and the huge media attention he has received especially in Norway as this year's Cup lead but in Brno he knows what he must do coming to one of his favourite tracks.
"At Brno, in 2007 it was my first year and I had my best result there, also last year, Brno was where I got my first win so it should be a good weekend, I like the track. I just hope to do a good practice and not make any silly mistakes and see what happens in the race. I think I have a pretty good shot at the Cup, of course Jakub is going to be good there, he's at home but I think I have a good chance of winning the Cup."
Fagerhaug also knows that it will be much more than races between the 2 of them. "There are a lot of guys who could win there, like Danny Kent, Brno is one of tracks he's been to before, Mathew Scholtz did good there last year and also got his first win. Daijiro has already had lots of podiums this season and Jake Gagne has also been fast, especially the last few races, so he's going to be up there."
There is one key member of the Rookies Cup team for whom there are no favourites and who is not betting on anyone in the final weekend. Rider Coach Gustl Auinger will be helping them all and just hoping they all ride to their maximum abilities. "For us and the spectators this is the best possible end to the season. It is not just these 2 who are so close, of course the focus of many will be on Sturla and Jakub but the level is now so high in the Cup that there are 10 or more riders who can get on the podium. Sturla has made some mistakes but has a lot of experience now and knows what he has to do over the last 2 races. Jakub may have some extra pressure from his friends etc. as he comes to his home race but of course he knows and likes the track very well so it is very interesting."
For Kornfeil the plan is clear as he pointed out. "I know I must get try and get on the podium in both races and my main intention is to beat Sturla. I have to do that because he has won 3 times and I 2 times so he is leading the Cup even if we are equal on points."