The tenth year of the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup sees 24 teenagers from around the globe embark on the most exciting year of their lives. Thirteen nations are represented from as far afield as Japan and Colombia, Finland and the USA.
As 2015 Cup winner Bo Bendsneyder prepares for his first season as a member of the Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto3 squad alongside fellow ex Rookie Brad Binder, this year's Rookies have their sights set on his career path and those of Moto2 and Moto3 World Champions Johann Zarco and Danny Kent, also Cup graduates.
There are natural favourites for the 2016 Cup, like Ayumu Sasaki who was fast from his debut last season and ended the year third in the title chase after a victory in Race 2 at Silverstone. The 15-year-old Japanese knows that nothing short of winning the Cup will satisfy him this year.
He wasn't the only winner last year and Marc Garcia, the 16-year-old Spaniard starts his third Rookies Cup with fourth overall from last season and a win in Race 1 at the end of the year in Aragon.
Fellow Spaniard Raúl Fernández will challenge them both even though he is looking for his first win. He had a couple of second places on his way to seventh in the 2015 Cup and raced wheel to wheel with Sasaki often towards the end of the year. At 15 he is another favourite for the title.
There are also eleven new names on the Rookies Entry List and some will soon be a threat to the returnees. Will Kevin Orgis be the first to shine? The 15-year-old German took the 2015 Moriwaki 250 Junior Cup with 7 wins, 10 podiums.
It might be 13-year-old American Sean Kelly who won last year's Race 1 at the Silverstone KTM RC390 Cup World Final. Or 15-year-old Alexandre Juanes who was also a winner on a KTM 390RC last season at the Ales round of Coupe de France Promosport 400cc.
They all get their first 2015 outing on the KTM RC 250 R at the Jerez pre-season test in Jerez April 1st, 2nd and 4th. The first race weekend is at the same venue three weeks later, April 23rd and 24th.
The thirteen race season then sweeps across Europe, including the Red Bull Ring in Austria for the first time on August 13th 14th before ending as usual at Motorland Aragon on September 24th and 25th.
Whoever becomes the tenth Rookies Cup winner at the end of the year will know they have achieved something very special and taken a very important step to Grand Prix glory following the path of World Champions.
4 Patrik Pulkkinen, Finland
11 Alexandre Juanes, France
12 Filip Salač, Czech Republic
13 Walid Soppe, Netherlands
14 Matthias Meggle, Germany
18 Manuel González, Spain
19 Rufino Florido, Spain
20 Omar Bonoli, Italy
21 Victor Steeman, Netherlands
22 Mykyta Kalinin, Ukraine
23 Raúl Fernández, Spain
27 Mattia Casadei, Italy
36 Sander Kroeze, Netherlands
40 Sean Kelly, United States
41 Marc Garcia, Spain
43 Steward Garcia, Colombia
44 Kevin Orgis, Germany
67 Kaito Toba, Japan
69 Rory Skinner, Great Britain
71 Ayumu Sasaki, Japan
76 Makar Yurchenko, Russia
79 Ai Ogura, Japan
81 Aleix Viu, Spain
89 Kevin Zannoni, Italy
Races 1-2, Jerez – Spain, April 23-24
Races 3-4, Assen – Netherlands, June 25-26
Races 5-6, Sachsenring – Germany, July 16-17
Races 7-8, Spielberg – Austria, August 13-14
Races 9-10, Brno – Czech Republic, August 20-21
Race 11, Misano – San Marino, September 10
Races 12-13, Aragon – Spain, September 24-25
Pre-season test, Jerez – Spain, April 1-4