Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup Motorland Aragon
What a weekend of racing at the final Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup races of 2015 at Motorland Aragon in Spain.
This was one circuit that Rory had ridden at in the RFME Spanish National Championship back in July and had scored a 3rd place podium on his first visit to Aragon.
He approached race weekend with a quiet confidence, coupled with a very positive change to the bike set up which allowed Rory to climb up the order throughout FP1 and 2 to not only take pole position but smash the current circuit lap record for the Rookies Cup previously held by 2015 Factory Mahindra Moto3 World Championship rider and 2014 Rookie Cup Champion Jorge Martin.
Saturday Race 1:
Rory got a reasonable start and led till turn 3 when he was passed but fought back to retake the lead only to lose it by a slipstream down the back straight, going into lap two a collision involving 4 riders ended in a red flag.
The race was now reduced from 15 to 8 laps, Rory made a fantastic start and immediately held a 0.2 second lead throughout the first lap but was then out braked into turn 1. He fought back right away and recovered the lead only to be pushed back into 2nd once more by the end of the 2nd lap. The lead changed several times over the next lap but by lap 4 he settled down and led right until the last lap having been finally pulled in by the pursuing two Spanish riders who timed everything perfectly in slipstreaming each other to bridge the gap and draft past Rory down the start finish straight and into turn 1. Rory fought hard to recover the lead but did not find the opportunity to pass and came over the line to claim an excellent 3rd place podium position.
Sunday Race 2:
Rory made an amazing start to race 2 but was quickly demoted to 2nd by turn 3, he immediately fought back and regained the lead. the leading bunch of four riders started to pull away from the second group of riders and things were looking good for Rory as he knuckled down and started to open a gap while the three riders behind held each other up by passing each other. Soon though they realised that Rory was pulling away and one of the riders gestured by tapping his seat for the other riders to follow and slipstream to pull them back to Rory, who by now had opened up almost 0.4 of a second lead, but with no slipstream of his own to pull further away the pack slowly closed in over the next few laps and once close enough one rider made a pass on the brakes. Rory then dropped down to 4th and as the group started once more to hold each other up as they tried to pass one another this let the second group of riders catch up and make the lead group an eight man strong train of hungry riders looking for the final win of the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup season.
On lap 7 Rory had a huge moment at turn 3 and ran right off the track, feet off the pegs and narrowly missing being highsided off the bike. He rejoined 2 seconds behind 7th place and immediately got his head down. Over the next 4 laps, he put in some astounding laps, including up to that point the fastest lap of the race and closed back in onto the back of the group. He sat there for a couple of laps watching the other riders then started his assault with a huge slipstream on the penultimate lap to catapult himself back up to 3rd position going into the final lap.
He tried hard to close down the lead pair and with a last attempt going into the last turn closed them right down and finished the race third and only 0.1 from the win!
An amazing weekend overall, taking the circuit record in qualifying, his first Rookies Cup pole position and two amazing races rewarding him with two fantastic 3rd place trophies.
The circuit record went once more in the first race as second place managed to shave it further with a fantastic slipsteam.
Rory said “These have been by far my best and most enjoyable races of the Rookies Cup season. I am so happy that the team and I managed to find that setting I have been looking for all year and to get the results, pole position, fastest ever Rookies Cup lap of Aragon and two fantastic races picking up two third places, one when I was 13 and the other on my 14th birthday was just brilliant, I’m so happy!
I want to thank all of the Rookies Cup Team for an amazing year, my mechanic Juan, suspension tech Santi, my riding coaches Gustl and Dani, the Energy Station staff and all my sponsors who have helped throughout and my mum and dad.”
Rory has been invited to compete in the 2016 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup.
Here are the links to the two Motorland Aragon Red Bull MotoGP Rookies cup races.