Hanika continues stellar qualifying performance with another pole position at Assen
Karel Hanika keeps his run of Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup qualifying domination going with his third pole position of the season at Assen. Completing the front row of the grid behind the 17-year-old Czech are local hero Scott Deroue, also 17, and 16-year-old Briton Bradley Ray.
Hanika’s time came from the first session as he proved the master of a drying track to head the opposition all the way. Over a second quicker than anyone else he lost the chance to improve further when he slid off early in the second session. “I probably did not quite let enough heat get into the tyres,” he explained. “I thought they would be OK, I had done a couple of laps and there were a few guys ahead and I thought it was a good opportunity to chase after them I had a slide from the rear, saved it but it pushed the front away and that was it.”
“It is a shame because I would have liked to go faster and the fall was not necessary. The setup should be OK for the race, I was having a bit of handlebar shake through the fast sections in the first session which was unsettling but the mechanics said they would fix it. They probably did but I didn’t really get to test it in the second session, but that’s my fault.”
It was Ray who got closest to Hanika in the first session and he too fell in the second period before improving his time. “Just so much front end movement that it eventually tucked the front. We are still trying to get the bike to work the way we want and we seem to have gone backwards here.”
He seemed to be sitting comfortably in a secure second on the timing chart as tyre wear took the edge off performance towards the end of the second 30 minute session. Then on the final lap Deroue nailed a perfect tour to grab second. “I could hardly believe I’d done it,” reported Deroue. “I was lapping consistently towards the end but couldn’t go any quicker. I realised that Joe (Roberts) was behind me so I let him past, get a gap then when after him. It worked perfectly. The tyre was completely destroyed at the end though.”
What about the gap to Hanika though? “Karel can do these great laps,” said Deroue. “Just like he did in Austin but he couldn’t get away from the pack there. I think we can race with him,” asserted the Netherlander.
Jorge Martin, the 15-year-old Spaniard who lies second in the points table agrees with Deroue’s assessment after qualifying fourth. “Karel can do great lap times but he doesn’t always win the races, I think we can make it a close fight. I am happy with the improvement we made through practice, a lot of changes to the bike and some good steps forward, it is not perfect but I think good enough for a good race.”
It has been a lengthy seven week break since the last Rookies Cup race in Jerez in early May but some of the teenagers have been competing in other series and in the last couple of weeks have had some great success.
Scott Deroue won both IDM German National Championship Moto3 races at Oschersleben and then Karel Hanika did the same thing when the series moved on to the Red Bull Ring last weekend. Across the channel Jordan Weaving won the Moto3 British Championship at Knockhill in Scotland while on the other side of the Atlantic Joe Roberts was winning both AMA Pro SuperSport Races at Barber Motorsports Park, his first AMA pro races. In Spain Marcos Ramirez now leads the Spanish CEV National Moto3 Championship after finishing third in round four in Albacete.
Source: Red Bull Rookies
Photo Copyright: Simona Vogel for Vroom Media