Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup, Assen
Rounds 3 and 4 of the Rookies Cup visited “The Cathedral of Speed”.
This would be the second visit to this circuit for Rory as he had Wildcarded here last year on a Moriwaki and managed to nett a podium position: a fantastic achievement in a tough field of riders, this time however the competition was even more of a challenge: 24 of the best hand picked riders from around the World, all on the same KTM RC250R machines and only their knowledge, skill and determination separating them on track which would prove a tough but rewarding weekend for Rory.
FP1 was spent using half off the session bedding back in on the KTM Moto3 and getting used to the Assen track again, the other half trying to find the lines and braking markers for the faster machine from the previous year.
FP2 Rory spent honing his lines and studying the track to find more speed through the fast curves to improve his lap time
Qualifying did not bring the jump up the grid positions Rory had hoped for due to a lack of feeling with the bike on the new tyres and missing out on riding with a group to find a better qualifying time, however there was an improvement on his FP1/2 times and he qualified in 19th position.
The grand stands that line the entire start finish straight were almost completely full of spectators, the lights went out and race one was on.. Rory made a fantastic start and picked off several riders in the opening corners making a jump up to 15th only to be pushed back a couple of places a few corners later. Over the next few laps with steady progress he pulled in a group of riders and made his way to near the front, the rider in front then ran on going in to the chicane and running back over the track causing Rory to make contact and run off track
He stayed on but lost time. Once again he knuckled down and chased the riders that just passed him and finished the race in 15th position, his best result so far in the Rookies Cup.
Rory managed to pull off another great start racing up the field into 13th position where he had a race long battle finally succumbing to another rider in the last few laps but coming home one better than in the previous race with a 14th position.
Rory said about the races:
I really enjoyed race 1, I was able to get a good start and make up some positions. I was already up to 15th position by the first lap but unfortunately some riders passed me. On the 6th lap I was in a big group when a rider in front of me ran on going into the chicane and ran over the astroturf, he then re-joined but to avoid running of the other side of the track he grabbed the brakes and stopped quickly and I ran into the back of him and that then put me off of the track so I then lost all of my speed onto the start and finish straight therefore I lost a lot of positions and lost the group. I then managed to keep my position and finish in 15th position. I had problems when I was on the brakes the front would chatter lots so I was not able to trail-brake into any corners.
After race 1 the Tyre below was found to be the cause of the front end woes after being sliced by the rear paddock stand hook from the rider in front’s bike on lap 6, Rory’s fastest laps of the race followed after this incident.. A testament to the carcass construction and strength of Dunlop tyres!
Rory added: Race 2 I really enjoyed. Again I made a good start and passed quite a few riders by the end of the first lap. I was able to stay in 13th position for most of the race but then another rider came past me and I tried hard to stay with him but I couldn’t. I stayed in 14th position for the last few laps.
I would like to thank all of the Red Bull Rookies Cup Team, all of my sponsors and all the other people who follow and support me.
Rory’s next Red Bull Rookie Cup race is July 11-12th at Sachsenring.