Red Bull Rookies Cup

Misano Preview | Baldassarri or Sissis

The heat is on in Mugello © Red Bull

Arthur Sissis should be heading to the final round of the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup at Misano this coming weekend already crowned as 2011 Champion. But he is not. A mechanical problem and two crashes in the previous four races leave him trailing Lorenzo Baldassarri by six points going into the last race at the Grand Prix of San Marino.

Italian Baldassarri, who only turned 15 at the beginning of August, has avoided errors and bad luck but knows that victory is far from assured as Sissis, the 16-year-old Australian, is still an extremely strong threat.

There is no way that Baldassarri can count on finishing second to Sissis and thus claiming the title. Earlier in the year it looked like the pair were standing above the others as the strongest riders but in the last few races they have been caught and any one of 10 or 12 could win the final round. Indeed there have already been seven different winners this season and 16 of the 24 in the field have finished on the podium at some time during the year.

Last year's final at Misano was a classic with Danny Kent trying to orchestrate the race to his advantage to overcome a similar points gap to Jake Gagne. Kent was brilliant but it wasn't enough and Gagne took the Cup.

Sissis is likely to be less subtle and just go out determined to win, letting things unfold behind him as they may. Victory for Sissis not assured of course and Baldassarri will have his eye on a home win but the pair will also be under tremendous pressure from the likes of Florian Alt who was on pole in Brno and won the German Championship round at the Red Bull Ring in Austria the following weekend. It was the 15-year-old German's first IDM victory and he is still looking for his first win in Rookies Cup though he has been on the podium twice and is arguably the fastest teen without the ultimate glory.

Someone who will disagree with that is 18-year-old Czech Tomas Vavrous, his form is just as strong, being the only rider to be on both podium's at Brno. He has put his early season errors behind him now and is as capable of winning the final race as anyone. It could just as easily be a complete shock win like Joe Roberts in the first race at Brno. The 14-year-old American had only once previously finished in the top 10, when he was ninth in the second race of the year. He proved that the switch in form was not a fluke due to the rain though by smashing the lap record in the dry during the second race at Brno.

Looking at more established form would direct you to Alan Techer, two wins from the last three races for the 16-year-old Frenchman and he is a great competitor. It is the last chance for everyone so no one but Sissis and Baldassarri will be thinking of their situation, it is every man for himself.

There is just a single race at Misano, on Saturday September 3rd at 16.30 CET. It can be seen on TV stations around the world and is webcast live on www.redbull.tv with the show starting 10 minutes before the race.


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