Rory headed to Spain over the weekend of 14th-15th November for the final round of the FIM CEV Repsol Junior World Championship at Valencia for what would turn out to be the seasons high point for Rory and the team.
The first part of FP1 was spent re-familiarising himself with the Valencia circuit from when he was last there at a test. After a pitting for a small debrief he went back out and got on with picking the pace up, finding a good group of riders to ride with and work together.
FP2 went well with Rory finding himself riding in a good group of riders all using each other as bait. With a few small changes made to the bike, Rory and the Team were happy going into Saturday qualifying.
Conditions for qualifying 1 were ideal with plenty of sunshine, 22deg temp and plenty of rubber laid down on the track.
The changes the team made to the bike after FP2 debrief worked well letting him find more grip entering and exiting the turns. Rory worked hard at putting in some fast consistent laps and ended Q1 in 14th position with a lap time of 1.40.9
The temperature going into the afternoon session had risen and most of the riders lap times were running around 1.1 sec slower than in the earlier session meaning the pole position time of 1.39.33 would most likely stand. Some riders however managed to better their times and this included Rory. He managed to find two good clear laps where he could really put in fast sectors and in the closing stages put in a time of 1.40.5 to take him to 8th place in Q2.
With overall combined times of Q1+Q2 this meant P9 for Rory and a 3rd row start!
Sunday Race 1
Perfect conditions were welcome for race day. Rory lined up on the grid in P9, lights out and he got a great start, maintaining his grid position in turn 1 and bettering it to 8th by turn 2. He settled into a group battling for 7th position but on lap 4 a rider crashed out bringing out the red flag.
The race was restarted and reduced to a 9 lap dash. Rory made another good start and was again up to 7th position on lap one. By lap 3 the front group of 6 had opened up a 2 second gap with Rory in the second group battling for 7th. The group changed positions nearly every lap with Rory leading the group for several laps then being slipstreamed and relegated to the back down the straight only to fight back round the rest of the circuit making some fine passes. On the last lap, Rory came through from the rear of the second pack to finish in 7th position at the head of the second group.
Again starting from the 3rd row, Rory managed another fantastic start and slipped in to 6th position at turn 1. He held on to the leading pack until one of the front runners dropped back and slowed the pack behind up slightly allowing the leading bunch to pull away. As Rory made his pass he would then be passed back down the start finish straight by the riders following demoting him back to 9th. He dug in and made up places back to 6th each time falling fowl to the slipstream down the straight.
Out of the top ten riders, eight of them were riding full on 2015 Factory bikes run by the World Championship Junior teams of VR46, Estrella Galicia/Monlau, Laglisse, Machado/Leopard, SIC58 and Asia Talent Team who use this championship as a test bed to feed data back to their GP teams.
By the closing stages heading in to the last lap, Rory was at the rear of the second group and unable to pass in the slipstream so he one by one picked the riders off on the final lap, going into turn 11 there was only one rider of the group left in front so Rory planned his pass and ran up the inside on the brakes through turn 13, did so and came over the line in 4th position.
Unfortunately two riders in the front group crashed out at the final turn and as Rory was making his pass the marshals were waving the yellow flags which Rory had not seen due to his pass up the inside. He was later demoted to 5th position. This was still an amazing result for Rory.
In what was deemed as a learning year for Rory, it is incredible that in only his 3rd round of the Moto3 Junior World Championship he has scored 25 points, only 5 points away from 15th overall ending his 3rd round and the season in 19th position.
You can watch both the races here: race 2 on same Youtube channel
Link to championship results below.