Aleix Viu snatched pole position for Saturday's single Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup race at Misano with his penultimate qualifying lap. The 16-year-old Spaniard then slid off his KTM RC 250 R trying to go even faster. He quickly remounted to finish the lap and tops the timing sheets with Japanese Kazuki Masaki and Ai Ogura completing the front row.
Cup points leader Can Öncü heads the second row and the 14-year-old Turk is happy to be there. "Yes, not bad after the big high side in FP2," he admitted thoughtfully. "We couldn't test here so it is new for us. The track is good though and the bike is working OK, not perfect, we might change the front a little for tomorrow but I think I can race with the others at the front."
The Japanese duo
Masaki is just five points behind him in second and he too is new to Misano. "I like the track but it is certainly difficult," admitted the 17-year-old. "The bike is good, the gearing is working well and I just hope we can improve the front a bit tomorrow, it is moving around a bit on the brakes and I'm not happy with that. I think it will be a great race."
Ogura has the experience from last year and the 16-year-old also reported his bike as good but not perfect. "The front isn't quite right but as usual I prefer to ride it like that rather than risk making it worse for the race. I don't know how the race will go, maybe everyone will be quicker than today."
The solo Spaniard
Viu is at Misano for the third time, was very happy with the way qualifying went and has no thoughts of changing the bike. "No it's great, we went the wrong way with the gearing for FP2 but when we went back for qualifying it was really good. I felt confident and by half way through the session we were all quite close at the front, running lap record pace."
"I was feeling better and better on the bike so I decided to push for pole and I knew that lap was good but I wasn't sure it was enough for pole so I then pushed even harder, too hard because I slid off. But is was just a slide and I got straight back on. I'm really looking forward to a great race," enthused Viu who is third in the points chase, 28 behind Öncü.
An Italian and a Czech
The locals have a hero in Omar Bonoli and the 15-year-old Italian was quick all through Friday and will sit on the grid in fifth. "I'm quite happy, top five all the way and I think we have a good setting for the bike. Santi (Santiago Morralla – Rookies Cup suspension engineer) made some changes for qualifying and that worked well. For me the hard part is over, that's qualifying, now it's the race... and the race... is the race."
Completing the second row is Filip Salač and the 15-year-old Czech is very relieved to be finally able to ride. He broke his leg in a non Rookies race and missed the last four events though he tried unsuccessfully to ride in Brno. "I'm happy to be back, I've got no muscle and it's still a bit sore but a lot better than before. I'll just do what I can in the race."
This weekend's Rookies Cup race can be seen live on www.redbull.tv and on TV stations around the world. The single race is at 16.30 CET on Saturday, the show starts 10 minutes before the race.