2018 is the 12th season of the Rookies Cup and 171 riders from 34 different nations have been involved. By the end of this year there will have been 144 races.
Just as importantly Rookies have already gone on to win 69 Grand Prix on their way to five World Championships. In total they have stood on the Grand Prix podium 204 times, sometimes making it a clean sweep of the top three positions
Therefore teenagers from around the world know that the best way of getting a start in Grand Prix motorcycle racing is by entering the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup. Since its inception in 2007 it has grown into one of the most thrilling two-wheel spectacles in the world.
The Rookies Cup has released new stars into the world of Grand Prix racing, ex Rookies now compete with enormous success in all classes. For the last three seasons the Moto3 World Champion has been an ex Rookie and the 2017 title holder Joan Mir now moves up to the Moto2 category to join 2016 Moto3 World Champion Brad Binder.
Johann Zarco, our first Rookies champion and twice Moto2 World Champion, continues his incredible MotoGP campaign. Every year the level of competition has increased and this year's intake are set to raise the bar yet again for the 12th running of the Cup.
Starting at the Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez on May 5th & 6th, the series takes a broad sweep around the classic Grand Prix circuits of Europe including the usual run through the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, the Red Bull Ring in Austria then on to San Marino before ending the year back in Spain with the Grand Prix of Aragón on September 22nd & 23rd.
This is the sixth season with the Moto3 specification KTM RC 250 R 4-stroke as we switched in 2013 from the 2-stroke KTM RC 125 that had powered the Rookies for the first 6 seasons.
Just as the RC 125 was a close brother to the 125cc GP machines raced by the KTM factory so successfully, the RC 250 R is a reflection of the factory KTM Moto3 machine that won the 2017 Moto3 World Championship in the hands of ex Rookie Joan Mir.
It is the start of another great lineage, the 2012 factory KTM won the 2012 Moto3 World Championship in the hands of Sandro Cortese and in 2013 KTMs filled the top four places.
For the 25 Rookies the first chance to ride the KTMs in 2017 comes at the preseason test held in Aragon with four days on track, April 3rd to 6th. Riders come from from seventeen nations across the globe, from Wales to Australia, from Japan to Colombia and South Africa to the USA.
The Grand Prix paddock watches the intense action of the Rookies races picking out future stars and the Rookies themselves study their Grand Prix heroes in action looking for tips and inspiration. They get both from the factory KTM teams with ex Rookie Darryn Binder looking for Moto3 glory in 2018 and fellow ex Rookies Brad Binder and Miguel Oliveira going for the Moto2 title after three GP victories in 2017.