Flitcroft takes first Rookies Cup pole position, Pinsach qualifies fourth
Fastest in practice for the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup at Assen is 15 year old Briton James Flitcroft. He sits on pole for the first time ahead of Tomas Vavrous, the 17 year old Czech and 14 year old Italian Kevin Argino.
After yesterday’s cancellation of all Rookies sessions due to oil spread on the track in an early Moto2 practice the teenagers had an early start to Friday. Beginning at 7.45 the session was split into 20 minutes of free practice, a 5 minute break and then a 20 qualifying period. The track was wet from overnight rain but the sun came out and towards the end of qualifying it had just started to dry.
“That was perfect, I have never felt so good on the bike,” beamed Flitcroft. “I lost the rear a few times but got it back. I just found myself a good line and rhythm and was enjoying it. I didn’t know where I was on the times but just kept pushing and hoped to get a good lap time in at the end.”
So what had made the improvement? “A lot is mental, this time it is 2 steps forward and only one step back. I can’t wait for the race, wet or dry I’m happy anyway. The bike is great, not a single complaint.”
Vavrous did not realise he had done so well. “There were a lot of crashes out there, a lot of yellow flags and even some oil flags, I was struggling to get a good lap in, I think I lost 3 good laps with all those flags. I didn’t think I had done very well at all so I am surprised.”
Naturally Argino was happy to be completing the front row. “It was great fun, the bike was working well and I had no problem with the track, no big slides and I hope it is going to be wet for the race,” he said with a broad grin. He was on the podium in the wet race one in Silverstone.
Silverstone rain ace Lorenzo Baldassarri was in great form again. Despite missing most of the first 20 minutes through bike problems and never having ridden at Assen before he headed the qualifying period until he slid off. “The track is great I really enjoy it. I just made a mistake, braking into a corner and lost the front,” admitted the 14 year old Italian who lines up on the grid in 5th behind 15 year old Spaniard Xavi Pinsach.
Less happy are other race winners Philipp Oettl and Arthur Sissis who are 9th and 10th, Lukas Trautmann 14th and Brad Binder 17th.
The afternoon’s race starts at the scheduled time of at 16.30 CET and on Saturday at the unusually early time of 10.25 CET. Watch the races on TV around the world or on www.redbull.tv with the shows beginning 10 minutes before race start.
1. James Flitcroft (GBR) 2 minutes 05.356 seconds
2. Tomas Vavrous (CZE) +0.073
3. Kevin Argino (ITA) +0.078
4. Xavier Pinsach (ESP) +0.315
5. Lorenzo Baldassarri (ITA) +0.680
6. Stefano Valtulini (ITA) +0.938
7. Ivo Lopes (POR) +1.072
8. Alan Techer (FRA) +1.159
9. Philipp Oettl (GER) +1.168
10. Arthur Sissis (AUS) +1.192