Rookies Cup | Ramirez grabs pole
Marcos Ramirez, the 14 year old Spaniard, snatched pole position for Saturday's first race in the 2012 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup from British 14 year old Bradley Ray with the last lap of qualifying. Along with them on the front row is Diego Perez, another 14 year old from Spain.
Heading the second row is yet another debuting Rookie, Karel Hanika, the Czech 16 year old edging out British 125 Champion Kyle Ryde. The 14 year old Briton tops a list of returning Rookies with Portuguese 15 year old Ivo lopes completing row 2.
Ramirez admitted his surprise at setting pole time. “Sure I didn't expect that,” he said, fending of the congratulations of a gang of well wishers. “I was riding hard but I didn't think I would get pole. Towards the end the tyres were really worn and the rear was sliding around a lot. Also my bike setting is not quite right, the front is running wide through the fast corners so we will think about changing something for the race.”
Equally Ray didn't hide his pleasure and surprise. He was quickest in the first session as the track started to dry and also headed the leader-board for almost the entire second session only to be denied pole at the last moment. “There were still a few damp patches there even at the end and by then the tyres were well worn,” said the youngster who comes to Spain with 2 victories in the opening races of this year's British Championship behind him. “The bike's strong though, it's working well so I can't wait to get into the race.”
Perez is equally content with his set-up. “The bike is great I will change nothing, I was really enjoying it and I really didn't have any problems at all, not from the tyres, nothing.” One of the surprises from the pre season Estoril test where he was 3rd fastest was Hanika and even though he has never been to Jerez before the Czech found no problems at all. “I enjoy the track and I love the bike, I didn't expect to be this far up the grid, of course it was sliding a bit at the end with the tyres but I am so looking forward to the race.”
Ryde was not displeased with 5th but felt it could have been better. “When Karel came past towards the end I realised that he was quicker through the slow corners, when I tried to go with him the bike wouldn't let me so we've got to think about the suspension. Right on the last lap I got a good run going only to catch the group and get slowed down at the final corners, I think that cost me a second and places on the grid.
Of course not everyone is happy and last year's Cup winner Lorenzo Baldassarri, the 15 year old Italian, crashed unhurt and starts from the middle of row 4 in 11th place. Philipp Oettl who scored a 1st and a 2nd at last year's Jerez GP was even more displeased as he is directly behind him in the middle of the 5th row and 14th fastest.
“That's not where I want to be,” said the German 15 year old, winner of the opening round of this year's Spanish Championship and, like Baldassarri, swapping back from the 4-stroke they both ride there to the 2-stroke KTM RC125. “I want to be racing for the win and it is hard to do that from back where I am on the grid. I think we have to manage some suspension changes because I am not happy on the bike, mainly the problem is the rear I think. We certainly need to work it out.”
Race 1 starts at 16.30 CET on Saturday with race 2 at 15.30 CET on Sunday. Both can be seen live on www.redbull.tv and on television stations around the world.