Rory’s second round of the Moto3 Junior World Championship got underway at the Andalusian circuit of Jerez over the weekend of Nov 1st.
With previous knowledge of the circuit from earlier on in the year riding the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup KTM at the MotoGP round and also on the Racing Steps Foundation Backed KRP Honda Moto3 in the RFME CEV Championship, Rory felt confident he could get to grips fairly quickly on the RSF backed KRP FTR KTM Moto3 machine.
The sun was out early and the temperature rising nicely but the wind played a big role in rider times throughout the day with huge gusts causing several machines to run off line with the front going light on the exit of corners. Rory suffered from this problem but finished the session with some good data for the team.
The team responded quickly by modifying the fairing to pass the air through more efficiently and with some other changes made to the set-up he was ready for FP2.
Rory went out and put in some decent laps to finish the day with a good feeling from the bike and in the right direction for Qualifying.
Qualifying 1 went well for Rory, who was out in a big group of riders from the start of the session, he came in to the pits 13th fastest after 7 laps. A change was made to the bike and he went back out to better his time. He dropped down to 18th until the final two laps where he put in some fast sectors and pulled the RSF backed FTR KRP KTM back up the timing sheets to finish 14th fastest.
With the weather threatening to close in on the circuit all day, the rain finally arrived 10 minutes before the Moto3 class were due to go out for QP2..
Wet tyres and a wet set up were dialled in and Rory headed out for some wet track time. There was no chance of bettering the times set in QP1 so it was used as a wet practice just in case the weather remained for the races on Sunday. Rory finished the session 17th and confident he could go quicker if it was a wet race.
Sunday Race 1
Conditions were pretty good for the start of Sundays Race 1, Rory made up several places on the run down to turn 1 and some more by turn 2 only to be pushed out wide at turn 3 and drop back to 11th over the line on the first lap.
He spent several laps battling hard in a group of 8 riders spanning 11th to 18th going from leading the group then dropping to the rear to fighting his way back to 12th, all the time catching the group in front who were battling for eighth. By the time the two groups became one they had dropped two riders at the rear and were now a group of eight fighting for 8th position.
When they came over the line at the chequered flag, only 0.78 seconds covered 8th to 15th place with Rory being dropped from 12th to 15th on the last lap, he took his first World Championship Point!
After the race it became apparent that Rory had raced the last 5 laps with very little front brake due to brake fade!
Sunday Race 2
The weather was closing in, the clouds were dark grey and the wind was getting up fast…
As the grid was cleared, the rain started to fall! Luckily by the end of the warm up lap it was starting to blow through, the lights were on and then race was go…
Going into Race 2 the team had made a few changes, a new front brake system fitted and some set up changes to give Rory better feel and a gearing change to help in the windy conditions.
The changes paid dividends as Rory set about clawing his way up the leader board.
Battling all the way, riding so close that another rider actually left his tyre marks on Rory’s leg, side and arm of his leather suit while battling for position round turn 6, a fast 3rd gear 80mph r/h corner leading on to the back straight causing him to lose a couple of positions before digging in and pulling them back on the next lap.
The group had splintered and Rory was now in the battle for 10th, on the last lap he made an amazing pass at turn 12, a fast 4th gear 100mph right hander, usually only a one line corner, but he managed to put it up the inside of his competitor going into turn 12 and held out through turn 13 only to be out braked and re-passed on the final turn, again with contact from the other riders footrest catching Rory’s left arm causing him to run wide on the exit and lose drive down to the finish line, still finishing with his best result so far in the Junior World Championship and another amazing achievement in only his second round of this championship.
Rory said: I have had a really good weekend here at Jerez, I started out with a good feeling, the team worked well and we quickly sorted out the bike to suit me and the track. We had a few problems with the front brake in Race one which was sorted out but still came back a bit for Race 2 but not so bad. I’m really happy to take away my first Junior World Championship points from two races this weekend. Thanks to Racing Steps Foundation, my team at KRP, Bennetts Insurance, Tokheim and Arai for all their help and support.
Both of Rory’s Junior World Championship races can be viewed here: